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      Gender differences in partners of patients with COPD and their perceptions about the patients

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) not only affects patients but also their partners. Gender-related differences in patients with COPD are known, for instance regarding symptoms and quality of life. Yet, research regarding gender differences in partners of patients with COPD has been conducted to a lesser extent, and most research focused on female partners. We aimed to investigate differences between male and female partners of patients with COPD regarding their own characteristics and their perceptions of patients’ characteristics.


          Cross-sectional study.


          Four hospitals in the Netherlands.


          One hundred and eighty-eight patient–partner couples were included in this cross-sectional study.


          General and clinical characteristics, health status, care dependency, symptoms of anxiety and depression, social support, caregiver burden, and coping styles were assessed during a home visit.


          Female partners had more symptoms of anxiety and a worse health status than male partners. Social support and caregiver burden were comparable, but coping styles differed between male and female partners. Female partners thought that male patients were less care dependent and had more symptoms of depression, while these gender differences did not exist in patients themselves.


          Health care providers should pay attention to the needs of all partners of patients with COPD, but female partners in particular. Obtaining an extensive overview of the patient–partner couple, including coping styles, health status, symptoms of anxiety, and caregiver burden, is necessary to be able to support the couple as effectively as possible.

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          Most cited references 35

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            The MOS social support survey.

            This paper describes the development and evaluation of a brief, multidimensional, self-administered, social support survey that was developed for patients in the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS), a two-year study of patients with chronic conditions. This survey was designed to be comprehensive in terms of recent thinking about the various dimensions of social support. In addition, it was designed to be distinct from other related measures. We present a summary of the major conceptual issues considered when choosing items for the social support battery, describe the items, and present findings based on data from 2987 patients (ages 18 and older). Multitrait scaling analyses supported the dimensionality of four functional support scales (emotional/informational, tangible, affectionate, and positive social interaction) and the construction of an overall functional social support index. These support measures are distinct from structural measures of social support and from related health measures. They are reliable (all Alphas greater than 0.91), and are fairly stable over time. Selected construct validity hypotheses were supported.
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              Caring for a relative with dementia: family caregiver burden.

              This paper is a report of part of a study to investigate the burden experienced by families giving care to a relative with dementia, the consequences of care for the mental health of the primary caregiver and the strategies families use to cope with the care giving stressors. The cost of caring for people with dementia is enormous, both monetary and psychological. Partners, relatives and friends who take care of patients experience emotional, physical and financial stress, and care giving demands are central to decisions on patient institutionalization. A volunteer sample of 172 caregiver/care recipient dyads participated in the study in Cyprus in 2004-2005. All patients were suffering from probable Alzheimer's type dementia and were recruited from neurology clinics. Data were collected using the Memory and Behaviour Problem Checklist, Burden Interview, Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale and Ways of Coping Questionnaire. The results showed that 68.02% of caregivers were highly burdened and 65% exhibited depressive symptoms. Burden was related to patient psychopathology and caregiver sex, income and level of education. There was no statistically significant difference in level of burden or depression when patients lived in the community or in institutions. High scores in the burden scale were associated with use of emotional-focused coping strategies, while less burdened relatives used more problem-solving approaches to care-giving demands. Caregivers, especially women, need individualized, specific training in how to understand and manage the behaviour of relatives with dementia and how to cope with their own feelings.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                23 December 2016
                : 12
                : 95-104
                [1 ]Department of Research and Education, CIRO, Horn
                [2 ]Centre of Expertise for Palliative Care, Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+), Maastricht
                [3 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Zuyderland, Heerlen
                [4 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Zuyderland, Sittard-Geleen
                [5 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Elkerliek Hospital, Helmond
                [6 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, St Anna Hospital, Geldrop
                [7 ]Department of Family Medicine, CAPHRI School of Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht
                [8 ]Department of Medical Psychology and Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen
                [9 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+), Maastricht, the Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Nienke Nakken, Department of Research and Education, CIRO, Hornerheide 1, 6085 NM Horn, the Netherlands, Tel +31 475 587 602, Email nienkenakken@
                © 2017 Nakken et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, family caregiving, gender, partners


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