Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Attitudes and burden in relatives of patients with schizophrenia in a middle income country

Alejandra Caqueo-Urízar1*, José Gutiérrez-Maldonado2, Marta Ferrer-García2, Claudia Peñaloza-Salazar2, David Richards-Araya3 and Alejandro Cuadra-Peralta1

  • * Corresponding author: Alejandra Caqueo-Urízar

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Departamento de Filosofía y Psicología, Universidad de Tarapacá, 18 de Septiembre # 2222, Arica, Chile

2 Departamento de Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento Psicológico, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Barcelona, Paseo Valle de Hebrón, 171, 08035 Barcelona, Spain

3 Equipo de Psiquiatría y Salud Mental Ambulatoria, ESSMA SUR, Vicuña Mackenna # 630, Arica, Chile

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Family Practice 2011, 12:101  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-101

Published: 26 September 2011



Most studies of family attitudes and burden have been conducted in developed countries. Thus it is important to test the generalizability of this research in other contexts where social conditions and extended family involvement may be different. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between the attitudes of caregivers and the burden they experience in such a context, namely Arica, a town located in the northernmost region of Chile, close to the border with Peru and Bolivia.


We assessed attitudes towards schizophrenia (including affective, cognitive and behavioural components) and burden (including subjective distress, rejection and competence) in 41 main caregivers of patients with schizophrenia, all of whom were users of Public Mental Health Services in Arica.


Attitude measures differed significantly according to socio-demographic variables, with parents (mainly mothers) exhibiting a more negative attitude towards the environment than the rest of the family (t = 4.04; p = 0.000).This was also the case for caregivers with a low educational level (t = 3.27; p < 0.003), for the oldest caregivers (r = 0.546; p = 0.000) and for those who had spent more time with the patient (r = 0.377; p = 0.015). Although attitudes had significant association with burden, their explanatory power was modest (R2 = .104, F = 4,55; p = .039).


Similar to finding developed countries, the current study revealed a positive and significant relationship between the attitudes of caregivers and their burden. These findings emphasize the need to support the families of patients with schizophrenia in this social context.

Attitude; burden; relatives; schizophrenia