The Impact of Social Support on Quality of Life for Spousal Caregivers of People with Multiple Sclerosis
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This study investigated the quality of life of 107 caregiving spouses of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Spousal caregivers completed an online survey that measured demographics, caregiver strain, MS severity, social support, caregiver support needs, and four aspects of quality of life [QOL], i.e., Physical, Psychological, Social, and Environmental. Correlational analyses were run between these variables to determine the strength and direction of their relationships. From there a hierarchical regression analysis was performed to determine which social support and caregiver support needs variables significantly impacted each of the four domains of QOL. For physical QOL, the 12 social support and support needs variables accounted for 22% of the variance above and beyond the control variables. These same variables accounted for 28% of the variance for psychological quality of life above and beyond the control variables. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that for spousal caregivers, the need for health information, and need for professional support accounted significantly for the variance in physical and psychological QOL. Caregiver social support and support need variables accounted for 38% of the variance for social QOL above and beyond the control variables. For social QOL, the variable that accounted significantly was positive interaction. Social support and support needs variables accounted for 22% of the variance in caregiver environmental QOL above and beyond the control variables. For environmental QOL, the need for professional support accounted significantly. The need for professional support was also shown to mediate the effects of caregiver strain on environmental QOL (z-score= -2.21, p=.03).