Perceived health, caregiver burden, and quality of life in women partners providing care to veterans with traumatic brain injury

Karen L. Saban, Joan M. Griffin, Amanda Urban, Marissa A. Janusek, Theresa Louise Bender Pape, Eileen Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Families of Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often faced with providing long-term informal care to their loved one. However, little is known about how their perceived health and caregiving burden contribute to their quality of life (QOL). The purpose of this descriptive study was to describe perceived health, somatic symptoms, caregiver burden, and perceived QOL and to identify the extent to which these variables are associated with QOL in female partners/spouses of Veterans with TBI. Participants completed a written questionnaire including the general health subscale of the 12-Item Short Form Survey version 2, the Patient Health Questionnaire-15, Caregiver Reaction Assessment, and Quality of Life Index. Caregivers reported moderate levels of QOL, and over a quarter of the sample reported high levels of somatic symptoms, particularly fatigue and sleep disturbance. Age, perceived general health, somatic symptoms, the five subscales of caregiver burden (self-esteem, disrupted schedule, effect on finances, lack of family support, and effect on health) predicted QOL and explained 64% of its variance (adjusted r2 = 0.64, F(8,31) = 9.59). However, only somatic symptoms and the caregiver burden subscales of self-esteem and effect on finances were significant predictors in the model. These findings have implications for development of family-centered interventions to enhance the QOL of informal caregivers of Veterans with TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-692
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016


  • Brain injuries
  • Caregiver burden
  • Caregiving
  • Fatigue
  • Informal caregiver
  • Perceived health
  • Quality of life
  • Somatic symptoms
  • Stress
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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