Objective : The purpose of this study was two-fold: First, it investigated the degree of disability acceptance, burden, and coping behaviors of caregivers of spinal cord injury patients staying in hospitals as a function of the characteristics of the patients and their caregivers. Second, it examined the relationship among these variables.
Methods : The subjects were 103 caregivers of spinal cord injury patients who were receiving in-patient treatment at one of the eight rehabilitation therapy hospitals in Seoul, Gyeonggi-do,and Chungcheng-do. The instruments used were Acceptance of Disability (Linkowski, 1971) for the caregiver's acceptance of their patient's disability, Burden Inventory (Lee, 1993) for the caregiver's level of burden, and Ways of Coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) for the caregiver's coping strategies. In addition, several questions were asked to find out the caregiver's demographic information and caregiving characteristics, and the patient's demographic information and disease characteristics. The data were analyzed through descriptive statistics, a t-test, Pearson's correlations, One-way ANOVA, and post hoc Tukey.
Results : The major results of this study are as follows: First, the caregivers exhibited a moderate level of acceptance of disability, and had a severe physical burden, and used both problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies, with particular focus on the positive. Second, the female caregivers had more social burden and used emotion-focused coping strategies more compared with the male caregivers. The frequency of caregiving increased with the perceived caregiver's burden, especially time-dependence burden, developmental burden, social burden, emotional burden, and economic burden. The time of the caregiving increased with the perceived caregiver's burden, especially time-dependence burden and social burden, and with the use of 'focusing on the positive'coping strategies. Third, caregivers of patients with cervical and thoracic lesions had greater time-dependency and developmental burdens, and used wishful-thinking coping strategies compared with caregivers of patients with lumbar lesions. The caregivers of the dependent group in daily living had greater time-dependency burden, developmental burden, and financial burden.
Conclusion : Caregiver's disability acceptance decreased with their burden and increased with the use of detachment coping strategies. Caregivers with more time-dependent burden used emotion-focused coping strategies, while those with more physical burden used both problemand emotion-focused coping strategies.