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Caregiver burnout among intimate partners of patients with a severe illness: an equity perspective

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  • Psychology

Abstract

In the present study, caregiver burnout among the intimate partners of 106 cancer patients and 88 patients with multiple sclerosis was assessed. This study examined how burnout is related to marital quality and perceptions of inequity in the relationship. LISREL analyses showed that higher perceptions of inequity are strongly associated with higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, and lower feelings of personal accomplishment. Intimate partners of both cancer patients and patients with multiple sclerosis are relatively likely to experience burnout when they feel that they do not invest or benefit enough in the exchange with their ill partner. The relationship between inequity and burnout held when general marital quality, gender, the duration of the illness, the physical and psychological condition of the ill partner, and support from other persons were controlled for. This study shows that perceptions of equity or balance in the relationship between patients and their intimate partners are important for preventing caregiver burnout and for enhancing positive caregiver experiences

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