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The experience of carers of patients with severe mental illness: a comparison between London and Bologna

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

Ilaria Tarricone*
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry “P. Ottonello”, University of Bologna, Viale Pepoli 5, 40100Bologna Italy
Morven Leese
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry at The Maudsley, De Crespigny Park, King's College London, UK
George I. Szmukler
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry at The Maudsley, De Crespigny Park, King's College London, UK
Mariano Bassi
Affiliation:
Mental Health Department, Bologna, Italy
Domenico Berardi
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry “P. Ottonello”, University of Bologna, Viale Pepoli 5, 40100Bologna Italy
*
*Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +39 051 521 552. E-mail address:ilariata@alma.unibo.it (I. Tarricone).
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Abstract

Purpose.

The experience of care giving inventory (ECI) is a self-reported measure of the caregiving experience as seen by the carer of a person with a serious mental illness. It comprises eight negative subscales and two positive subscales; positive and negative scores are obtained from these (ECI total positive and ECI total negative). This study aims to assess the validity and the reliability of the Italian version of the ECI and to compare the experience of carers in London and Bologna as measured by the ECI.

Method.

The sample consisted of 95 Bologna carers and 69 London carers of patients suffering from a functional psychotic disorder. The internal consistency of the Italian ECI and correlation between the Italian ECI total negative and the GHQ-12 (external validity) were estimated. Independent t-tests and chi-squared tests were used to compare sample characteristics and mean ECI scores. Regression analyses were used to control for confounders.

Results.

Internal consistency and validity of the Italian ECI were similar to these previously found. The Bologna caregivers had a higher ECI total negative than London carers; this difference was partially explained by worse patients' functioning and by a higher proportion of parents in Bologna. Bologna carers scored significantly lower on ECI total positive after controlling for relationship and patient functioning.

Conclusions.

The Italian ECI is a well-accepted and valid instrument to describe caregiving experiences. The similar scores in ECI total negative between London and Bologna underline a cross-cultural consistency of negative experience of caregiving and re-emphasise the importance of patients functioning in different cultural contexts. The differences found for ECI total positive suggest area for further research.

Type
Original article
Copyright
Copyright © Elsevier SAS 2006

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