Pain and depression in caregivers affected their perception of pain in stroke patients

Shih Ying Hung, A. Simon Pickard*, Whitney P. Witt, Bruce L. Lambert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: Informal caregivers often serve as proxy raters of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) when patients cannot report on their own behalf. Caregiver depression has been associated with bias in proxy ratings, but few studies have examined the role of caregiver pain. The aim of this study was to determine if caregiver depressive symptoms and/or pain systematically affected patient-proxy agreement on patient HRQL after stroke. Study Design and Settings: Secondary data analysis of 95 stroke patients and their caregivers (dyads) at 6 months poststroke. Caregiver depressive symptoms were measured by Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Rating Scale, and pain was measured using EQ-5D. Using multivariate regression, we examined the effect of caregiver depressive symptoms and pain on patient-proxy difference scores on Health Utilities Index 3 (HUI3) attributes and Short Form-36 domains of vitality and social functioning. Results: Caregiver depressive symptoms and pain were associated with significant differences in patient-proxy scores on HUI3 pain (P < 0.05). Depressed caregivers underestimated pain experienced by patients, and caregivers with pain overestimated patient pain. Additionally, an interaction between caregiver depressive symptoms and pain was identified. Conclusion: Presence of pain and depressive symptoms in caregivers can significantly affect perceptions of pain in stroke patients. Results suggest that caregivers with pain and/or depression may provide more biased proxy assessments of pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-970
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Caregiver
  • Depression
  • HRQL
  • Pain
  • Proxy assessment
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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