Life satisfaction and mental health in depressed patients’ families



  Introduction: Attention to care giving consequences has been restricted to schizophrenia. Evidence suggests that living with depressive patients can also cause psychiatric problems in caregivers. The aim of this study was to evaluate mental health and life satisfaction among caregivers of depressed patients and members of non-depressed families.   Method: This cross sectional study was performed on 70 caregivers of depressed patients and 70 members of non-depressed families in year 2007. Caregivers of depressed patients were selected by simple random sampling from mental health centers of Hafez and Ebn-e-Sina Hospital in Shiraz and the control group were selected among staff and students of mentioned hospitals. Data was collected using temporal life satisfaction scale and general health questionnaire, both of which having acceptable validity and reliability. Data were analyzed using Pearson correlation, dependent T-test and analysis of variance for repeated measure with Bonferoni correction by SPSS 10 software.   Results: There was significant correlation between life satisfaction and mental health among caregivers of depressed patients and members of non-depressed families. The relatives of depressed patients reported higher life satisfaction. There was no significant difference between general health levels of two groups. Caregivers of depressed patients showed higher symptoms of depression. The highest life satisfaction was for future and the lowest was for past.   Conclusion: Providing care for a depressed patient could increase life satisfaction meanwhile, depressive symptoms may also increase. Care giving to a depressed patient has positive and negative aspects it can be simultaneously exhausting and satisfying.