Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Caregivers of People with an Intellectual Disability, in Comparison to Carers of Those with Other Disabilities and with Mental Health Issues: A Multicountry Study
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Feb 13;20(4):3256. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20043256.
Carers supporting people with an intellectual disability often rely on others to manage the burden of care. This research aims to compare the differences between carer groups and understand the predictors of loneliness changes and burden for carers of people with an intellectual disability. Data from the international CLIC study were analysed. In total, 3930 carers responded from four groups; people who care for those with mental health difficulties (n = 491), dementia (n = 1888), physical disabilities (n = 1147), and Intellectual disabilities (n = 404). Cross tabulation and the chi-squared test were used to compare group compositions and binary logistic regression to model predictors within the intellectual disability group. A total of 65% of those caring for people with an intellectual disability experienced increased burden, and 35% of carers of people with an intellectual disability and another condition experienced more severe loneliness. Becoming severely lonely was predicted by feeling burdened by caring (AOR, 15.89) and worsening mental health (AOR, 2.13) Feeling burden was predicted by being aged between 35 and 44 (AOR, 4.24), poor mental health (AOR, 3.51), and feelings of severe loneliness prior to the pandemic (AOR, 2.45). These findings demonstrate that those who were already struggling with caring experienced the greatest difficulties during the COVID-19 lockdowns.