Update on the Family Strain Questionnaire: A tool for the general screening of caregiving-related problems

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Background: The growing prevalence of chronic diseases and home-based treatments has led to the introduction of a large number of instruments for assessing the caregiving-related problems associated with specific diseases, but our Family Strain Questionnaire (FSQ) was designed to provide a basis for general screening and comparison regardless of the disease. We here describe the final validation of its psychometric characteristics. Methods: The FSQ consists of a brief semi-structured interview and 44 dichotomic items, and has now been administered to 811 caregivers (285 were simultaneously administered other questionnaires assessing anxiety and depressive symptoms). After a factorial analysis confirmed the 5-factor structure identified in previous studies (emotional burden, problems in social involvement, need for knowledge about the disease, satisfaction with family relationships, and thoughts about death), we undertook correlation and reliability analyses, and a receiver operating characteristics curve analysis designed to determine the cut-off point for the emotional problems identified by the first factor. Finally, univariate ANOVA with Bonferroni's post-hoc test was used to compare the disease-specific scores. Results: The validity and reliability of the FSQ is good, and its factorial structure refers to areas that are internationally considered as being of general importance. The semi-structured interview collects information concerning the socio-economic status of caregivers and their convictions/interpretations concerning the diseases of their patients. Conclusions: The FSQ can be used as a single instrument for the general assessment of caregiving-related problems regardless of the reference disease. This makes it possible to reduce administration and analysis times, and compare the problems experienced by the caregivers of patients with different diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1434
Number of pages10
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • Assessment
  • Caregiving
  • Chronic diseases
  • Questionnaire
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Nursing(all)


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