Health-related quality of life in caregivers of individuals with traumatic brain injury: Development of a conceptual model

Noelle E. Carlozzi*, Anna L. Kratz, Angelle M. Sander, Nancy D. Chiaravalloti, Tracey A. Brickell, Rael T. Lange, Elizabeth A. Hahn, Amy Austin, Jennifer A. Miner, David S. Tulsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objectives: To identify aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) that are relevant to caregivers of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to propose an integrated conceptual framework based on this information.

Design: Nine focus groups with caregivers of individuals with moderate-to-severe TBI were qualitatively analyzed to ascertain the effect that caring for an individual with a TBI has on caregiver HRQOL.

Setting: University hospitals and rehabilitation treatment centers.

Participants: Caregivers (N=55) of individuals with moderate-to-severe TBI.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measures: Not applicable.

Results: Qualitative analysis indicated that caregivers were most concerned about their social health (42% of comments). Other important issues were emotional health (34%), physical health (11%), cognitive health (3%), and feelings of loss (9%; feelings of loss related to changes in the future/potential of the care recipient or related to the caregiver). Areas of concern that were discussed that were specific to the caregiver and not fully evaluated by existing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) included feelings of loss, anxiety related to the caregiver role (reinjury concerns, worry about leaving the person alone, etc), and caregiver strain (burden, stress, feeling overwhelmed, etc).

Conclusions: Although existing PROs capture relevant aspects of HRQOL for caregivers, there are HRQOL domains that are not addressed. A validated and sensitive HRQOL tool for caregivers of individuals with TBI will facilitate initiatives to improve outcomes in this underserved group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Brain injuries
  • Caregivers
  • Outcome assessment (health care)
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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