This study investigated the predictors of subjective burden for families of psychiatric patients. We interviewed 150 relatives of patients randomly selected in four mental health care services in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Subjects were interviewed with the Family Burden Interview Schedule (FBIS-BR) and a standardized socio-demographic questionnaire. Variables were grouped into thematic categories and separately analyzed to determine the relative importance of predictive factors. The results showed that subjective burden is influenced by objective burden and by factors related to the patient's clinical condition, the caregiver's and patient's living and health conditions and financial status, and increased demand for information on mental illness. Subjective burden was less when the caregiver practiced leisure and religious activities, publicly admitted to being the caregiver of a psychiatric patient, and had positive feelings toward the patient. The findings highlight the need to include family follow-up in the community model for psychiatric care.
Mentally Ill Persons; Mental Health; Caregivers; Family