Caregivers of people with disorders of consciousness: which burden predictors?

Francesca G. Magnani, Matilde Leonardi, Davide Sattin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Caregivers of patients diagnosed with disorders of consciousness (DoCs) play a pivotal role in the care pathway of these patients. Due to the high costs of care, among other symptoms and disorders previously described in the literature, they can manifest also mood and stress-related disorders which greatly impact their life and increase their burden. It is noteworthy to identify which factors are better related to the manifestation of mood and stress-related disorders to care for the caregivers in time. However, no studies have explored which factors are related to the manifestation of these disorders within this population yet. Materials and methods: We explored with different questionnaires whether patient-, caregiver-, and caregiving environment-related factors are associated with mood and stress-related disorders on 114 caregivers of patients with DoCs. Results: Our results showed that female caregivers manifested higher levels of both depression and prolonged grief disorder; furthermore, the presence of economic problems increased the levels of depression. Moreover, different levels of caregivers’ depression, anxiety, anger expression, and prolonged grief disorder were closely linked to the degree of behavioural responsiveness of the patients. Conclusions: Our results highlighted the need to consider also caregivers’ mood and stress-related disorders when defining the care pathway of patients with DoCs; indeed, caregivers constitute the main environment of DoC patients and they need tailored interventions aimed at reducing their burden due to caregiving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2773-2779
Number of pages7
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Caregiver
  • Disorders of consciousness
  • Minimally conscious state
  • Mood disorders
  • Vegetative state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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