Psychiatr Danub 2012 Dec;24(4):359-66
Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Background: Quality of life assessments are increasingly present in health research. Chronic and progressive illness of a family member unavoidably affects quality of life of a family as a whole. The goals of this study were to gain insight into the family burden of chronic disorders, especially possible differences in family quality of life (FQOL) in families that have members suffering from either schizophrenia or Crohn's disease, and families in which none of the members have chronic somatic or mental illness, as well as to pilot an instrument for this purpose.
Subjects And Methods: The sample consisted of 53 families with a member suffering from schizophrenia, 50 families with a member suffering from Crohn's disease, and 45 families with no identifiable chronic illnesses. An informant from each family underwent a structured face to face interview, using a questionnaire specially adapted from Family Quality of Life Survey, an instrument widely used to assess FQOL in families with members with disabilities, and which addresses nine areas of family life.
Results: In the domain of health, both groups of families with chronic illnesses believe they have significantly different conditions when compared to members of the Control group. In the Crohn's disease group, families had a great deal more of challenges in accessing healthcare services; and see themselves at a disadvantage when compared to both other groups in the domain of finances. Control group offered lowest rating in the domain of support from others. Overall measures of FQOL show significant variation among the three groups, Crohn's disease group offering lowest ratings, followed by families of mental health service users.
Conclusions: Overall, FQOL seems to be lower in families that have members diagnosed with Crohn's disease than in families with members suffering from schizophrenia. Illness-specific studies are required, as well as instruments with stronger psychometric properties and studies of determinants of FQOL. Qualitative approach should be emphasised when studying FQOL related to chronic illnesses.
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