TODO EN LA FAMILIA: EXAMINING THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG MS IMPAIRMENTS, FAMILY NEEDS, AND CAREGIVER MENTAL HEALTH IN GUADALAJARA, MEXICO
Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), especially those living in Latin America, often require assistance from family caregivers throughout the duration of disease. Previous findings suggest that family caregivers may experience positive and negative effects from providing care to individuals with MS, but few studies have examined the impact of MS caregiving on caregivers from Latin America. The current study examined the relationships between MS impairments (functional, neurological, cognitive, behavioral and emotional), unmet family needs (household, informational, financial, social support, health), and caregiver psychosocial functioning (satisfaction with life, anxiety, burden, and depression) in a sample of 81 MS caregivers from Guadalajara, Mexico. Canonical correlations revealed that behavioral impairments were associated with higher burden and decreased satisfaction with life, and that unmet financial, social support, and informational needs were associated with higher caregiver burden. A structural equation model demonstrated the meditational effect of unmet family needs on the relationship between MS impairments and caregiver mental health. These findings suggest that interventions for MS caregivers in Latin America should focus on reducing caregiver burden by addressing unmet family needs for information, financial, and social support while teaching caregivers ways to manage the patient’s behavioral symptoms.