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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 20

of 'Screening for depression in adults'

Caring and its burdens. A study of the spouses of depressed patients.
Fadden G, Bebbington P, Kuipers L
Br J Psychiatry. 1987 Nov;151:660-7.
Spouses of 24 patients suffering from persistent depression were interviewed to find out how they were affected by the patient's illness. These effects were marked, although mainly endured without complaint, and included restrictions in social and leisure activities, a fall in family income, and a considerable strain on marital relationships. Some of the behaviour shown by patients was hard to bear, and 'negative' symptoms such as misery, withdrawal, and worrying commonly caused problems. Few relatives, however, know how to deal with difficult behaviour. Despite this, the majority remained committed to staying with the patient. Spouses had a variety of complaints about the way they were handled by hospital staff, particularly about being deprived of information and advice. These results have considerable implications for the way in which relatives should be dealt with as part of the overall management of persistent depression.
St Columba's Hospital, Sligo.