Mediating effects of a sense of coherence on the mental health of family caregivers of dependent elderly people

Nowadays, we are experiencing an increase in life expectancy and an ageing population. The older population needs a extend support of a caregiver to carry out activities of daily living. Caring for dependent older people can lead to an increased risk of psychological problems. Anxiety and depression are major problems in this group of people.

Sense of coherence is a concept related to the ability of people to maintain a positive life orientation, perceiving stimuli and events as rationally understandable, feeling that life has emotional meaning and that it is worthwhile to engage and solve problems, and feeling that the resources at their disposal may be sufficient to meet their needs. This concept has been linked to better health, but so far, no studies have been carried out on family caregivers in our setting on a long-term basis.

So, our research team have decided to analyse the effect of the sense of coherence on the mental health of caregivers. We have seen that the sense of coherence seems to attenuate the stress experienced by caregivers and its negative consequences such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, we see that a sense of coherence is an important psychological resource for caregivers. The psychological well-being of caregivers of dependent older people could be protected by interventions aimed at strengthening the sense of coherence.

The complete text can be consulted through this reference: López-Martínez C, Orgeta V, Frías-Osuna A, Del-Pino-Casado R. The mediating role of sense of coherence on mental health outcomes in carers of older dependent relatives: A longitudinal study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021;36(5):722-30.

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