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Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Print version ISSN 2237-6089On-line version ISSN 2238-0019


MANTOVANI, Lucas M. et al. Family burden in schizophrenia: the influence of age of onset and negative symptoms. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. [online]. 2016, vol.38, n.2, pp.96-99. ISSN 2238-0019.


To investigate the determinants of family burden in a sample of patients with schizophrenia and their caregivers.


Thirty-one stable patients with schizophrenia and their main caregivers were recruited. Sociodemographic variables were assessed in a semi-structured interview, and positive and negative symptoms were assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Cognitive performance was assessed with the Schizophrenia Cognition Rating Scale (SCoRS). Levels of burden on caregivers were assessed with the Family Burden Interview Schedule (FBIS). Interactions among variables were analyzed using Pearson correlations and linear regression analysis.


Objective and subjective FBIS scores were 1.9 (standard deviation [SD] = 0.5) and 2.4 (SD = 0.6) respectively. Objective burden correlated positively with positive and negative symptoms, and cognitive impairment. Subjective burden correlated positively with positive symptoms and negatively with mean age of disease onset. Positive, negative and cognitive symptoms accounted for 47.6% of the variance of objective burden, with negative symptoms accounting independently for 30.3%. Age of onset, parents as caregivers and positive symptoms accounted for 28% of the variance of subjective burden, with age of onset independently explaining 20.3%.


Patients' clinical and sociodemographic variables are important determinants of family burden in schizophrenia. Objective burden is predicted by symptoms, particularly negative ones. Subjective burden is predicted by symptoms and sociodemographic variables, particularly age of disease onset.

Keywords : Schizophrenia; family burden; burden of illness; negative symptoms; age of onset; cognition.

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