Suicide probability in psychiatric patients' primary caregivers: The role of care burden, alexithymia and some risk factors


      • Caregivers of psychiatric patients experience psychological distress and high care burden.
      • Alexithymia is a factor associated with mental disorders, which increase the risk of suicide.
      • Suicidal ideation seems to be related with care burden and alexithymia, but little is known about suicide risk in caregivers.
      • Psychiatric nurses should developed hospital and community-based intervention strategies to support caregivers.



      Although suicidal ideation seems to be related with both burden of care and alexithymia, there is no study investigating the correlation between these factors and suicide probability in informal caregivers of psychiatric patients in the literature.


      In this study, it was aimed to determine the suicide probability in psychiatric patients' primary caregivers, and to evaluate the effects of care burden, alexithymia and some risk factors on suicide probability.


      This study was conducted with 262 caregivers between February 2019 and December 2019. Data were collected with the Personal Information Form, Suicide Probability Scale, Zarit Burden Interview, Toronto Alexithymia Scale.


      The mean score the caregivers obtained from the Suicide Probability Scale was 79.75 ± 59.29, and 17.9% of them were at risk for suicide. Also, caregivers' suicide probability was related to variables such as caregivers' sex, economic status, presence of any disease, duration of care, and patients' education level, psychiatric diagnosis, duration of illness, presence of physical illness, compliance with treatment. In addition, caregivers' burden and alexithymia levels were significantly associated with the participating caregivers' suicide probability.


      This study demonstrates that approximately one out of every five caregivers was at risk for suicide. Therefore, hospital and community-based intervention strategies to support caregivers should be developed.


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