Physical and mental health among caregivers: findings from a cross-sectional study of Open University students in Thailand

Yiengprugsawan, Vasoontara, Harley, David, Seubsman, Sam-ang and Sleigh, Adrian C. (2012) Physical and mental health among caregivers: findings from a cross-sectional study of Open University students in Thailand. BMC Public Health, 12 1111: . doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1111


Author Yiengprugsawan, Vasoontara
Harley, David
Seubsman, Sam-ang
Sleigh, Adrian C.
Title Physical and mental health among caregivers: findings from a cross-sectional study of Open University students in Thailand
Journal name BMC Public Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2458
Publication date 2012-12-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-12-1111
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 12
Issue 1111
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background
Caregivers constitute an important informal workforce, often undervalued, facing challenges to maintain their caring role, health and wellbeing. Little is known about caregivers in middle-income countries like Thailand. This study investigates the physical and mental health of Thai adult caregivers.

Methods
This report derives from distance-learning students working and residing throughout Thailand and recruited for a health-risk transition study in 2005 (N=87,134) from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University. The cohort follow-up questionnaire in 2009 (N = 60,569) includes questions on caregiver status which were not available in 2005; accordingly, this study is confined to analysis of the 2009 data. We report cross-sectional associations between caregiver status and health.

Results
Among the study participants in 2009, 27.5% reported being part-time caregivers and 6.6% reported being full-time caregivers. Compared to male non-caregivers, being a part-time or full-time male caregiver was associated with lower back pain (covariate-Adjusted Odds Ratios, AOR 1.36 and 1.67), with poor psychological health (AOR 1.16 and 1.68), but not with poor self-assessed health. Compared to female non-caregivers, being a part- or full-time female caregiver was associated with lower back pain (AOR 1.47 and 1.84), psychological distress (AOR 1.32 and 1.52), and poor self-assessed health (AOR 1.21 and 1.34).

Conclusions
Adult caregivers in Thailand experienced a consistent adverse physical and mental health burden. A dose–response effect was evident, with odds ratios higher for full-time caregivers than for part-time, and non-caregivers. Our findings should raise awareness of caregivers, their unmet needs, and support required in Thailand and other similar middle-income countries.
Keyword Carer
Caregiver
Self-assessed health
Psychological distress
Lower back pain
Thai cohort study
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
 
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Created: Mon, 30 Jan 2017, 03:31:04 EST by Johanna Barclay on behalf of Mater Research Institute-UQ