Compassion Fatigue Among Family Caregivers of Schizophrenic Patients

Main Article Content

Ratchaneekorn Upasen
Weeraphol Saengpanya


Caring for schizophrenic patients can cause long-term family caregivers to experience suffering and compassion fatigue (CF). However, the manifestations of CF among family caregivers of schizophrenic patients are unclear. The purpose of this study was to explore manifestations of CF among family caregivers of schizophrenic patients. In this study, grounded theory was used, and purposive and theoretical sampling was employed to recruit participants. Data were collected from 29 family caregivers through in-depth interviews and field notes. Constant and comparative methods were used to analyze data. The study revealed that participants had experienced several manifestations of CF, including stress, physical and mental exhaustion, disheartenment, anxiety and uncertainty, difficulty sleeping, a feeling of endless hard work, and a strong bonding with the patient. Compassion fatigue among family caregivers is a major concern impacting their ability to care for and aid schizophrenic patients. These findings can alert mental health professionals, including mental health nurses, to improve awareness and understanding of CF experienced by family caregivers. Mental health professionals can use these findings to develop plans to assist family caregivers of schizophrenic patients in alleviating manifestations of CF among these caregivers.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Articles
Author Biography

Weeraphol Saengpanya, Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Corresponding author


• Alasmee, N., & Hasan, A. A. (2020). Primary caregivers experience of anti-psychotic medication: A qualitative study. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 34(6), 520-528.
• Blair, M., & Perry, B. (2017). Family caregiving and compassion fatigue: A literature review. Perspective, 39(2), 14-19.
• Bush, N. J. (2009). Compassion fatigue: Are you at risk? Oncology Nursing Forum, 36(1), 24-28.
• Byun, E., Lerdal, A., Gay, C. L., & Lee, K. A. (2016). How adult caregiving impacts sleep: A systematic review. Current Sleep Medicine Report, 2(4), 191-205.
• Centrano, G., Tedeschi, F., Rabbi, L., Gosetti, G., Lora, A., Lamonaca, D., Manthorpe, J., & Amaddeo, F. (2017). How are compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction affected by quality of working life? Findings from a survey of mental health staff in Italy. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 755.
• Conn, V. (2003). Working with families. In W. K. Mohr & B. S. Johnson (Eds.), Johnson’s psychiatric-mental health nursing (5th ed., pp. 53–75). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
• Day, J. R., & Anderson, R. A. (2011). Compassion fatigue: An application of the concept to informal caregivers of family members with dementia. Nursing Research and Practice, 408024.
• Denigris, J., Fisher, K., Maley, M., & Nolan, E. (2016). Perceived quality of work life and risk for compassion fatigue among oncology nurses: A mixed-methods study. Oncology Nursing Forum, 43(3), E121-E131.
• Department of Mental Health. (2016). รายงานประจำปีกรมสุขภาพจิต ปีงบประมาณ 2559 [Annual Report 2016]. Ministry of Public Health.
• Department of Mental Health. (2019). รายงานประจำปีกรมสุขภาพจิต ปีงบประมาณ 2562 [Annual Report 2019]. Ministry of Public Health.
• Dikmen, Y., Aydin, Y., Basaran, H., Filiz, Y. N., Denat, Y., & Arslan, G. G. (2016).
o Prevalence of compassion fatigue in emergency and intensive care nurses in Turkey.
o Oxidation Communications, 39 (4-I), 3190-3198.
• Franza, F., Del Buono, G., & Pellegrino, F. (2015). Psychiatric caregiver stress: Clinical implications of compassion fatigue. Psychiatric Danubina, 27(Suppl. 1), S321-S327.
• Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (2017). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Sociology Press.
• Gloria, O., Osofo, J., Goldmann, E., Parikh, N. S., Nonvignon, J., & Kretchy, I. M. A. (2018). The experiences of providing caregiving for patients with schizophrenia in the Ghanaian context. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 32(6), 815-822.
• Harvey, P. D., Strassnig, M. T., & Silberstein, J. (2019). Prediction of disability in schizophrenia: Symptoms, cognition, and self-assessment. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 10(3), 1-20.
• Kalinowska, S., Trześniowska-Drukała, B., Kłoda, K., Safranow, K., Misiak, B., Cyran, A., & Samochowiec, J. (2021). The association between lifestyle choices and schizophrenia symptoms. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10(1), 165.
• Kamil, S. H., & Velligan, D. I. (2019). Caregivers of individuals with schizophrenia: Who are they and what are their challenges? Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 32(3), 157-163.
• Kung, W. W. (2003). The illness, stigma, culture, or immigration? Burdens on Chinese American caregivers of patients with schizophrenia. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 84(4), 547-557.
• Lee, E., Daugherty, J., Eskierka, K., & Hamelin, K. (2019). Compassion fatigue and burnout, one institute’s intervention. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 34(4), 767-773.
• Liang, J., Aranda, M. P., & Lloyd, D. A. (2020). Association between role overload and sleep disturbance among dementia caregivers: The impact of social support and social engagement. Journal of Aging and Health, 32(10), 1345–1354.
• Lortrakul, M., & Sukhanit, P. (2012). จิตเวชศาสตร์ รามาธิบดี [Ramathibodi Psychiatry] (3rd ed.). Beyond Enterprise.
• Lynch, S. H., & Lobo, M. L. (2012). Compassion fatigue in family caregivers: A Wilsonian concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(9), 2125-2134.
• Lynch, S. H., Shuster, G., & Lobo, M. L. (2018). The family caregiver experience – examining the positive and negative aspects of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue as caregiving outcomes. Aging & Mental Health, 22(11), 1424-1431.
• Ndikuno, C., Namutebi, M., Kuteesa, J., Mukunya, D., & Olwit, C. (2016). Quality of life of caregivers of patients diagnosed with severe mental illness at the national referral hospitals in Uganda. BMC Psychiatry, 16, 400.
• O’Brien, P. G., Kennedy, W. Z., & Ballard, K. A. (2008). Psychiatric mental health nursing: An introduction to theory and practice. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
• Petcharatachart, A. (2006). การสร้างเสริมสุขภาพครอบครัวไทย [Thai Family Health Promotion]. Prince of Songkla University.
• Perry, B., Dalton, J. E., & Edwards, M. (2010). Family caregivers’ compassion fatigue in long-term facilities. Nursing Older People, 22(4), 26-31.
• Perry, B., & Edwards, M. (2015). A qualitative study of compassion fatigue among family caregivers in long term care homes. Perspective, 38 (3), 14-22.
• Rueangtrakul, S. (2014). ตำราจิตเวชศาสตร์ [Psychiatry]. Rueankaew Publisher
• Sadock, B. J., Sadock, A. V., & Ruiz, P. (2017). Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. Wolters Kluwer.
• Sawatphol, C., Pengpinit, T., Senanikorn, A., & Srisuraphol, W. (2017). การดูแลผู้สูงอายุที่อยู่ในภาวะพึ่งพิง ในพื้นที่ภาคตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือของไทย [Caring for dependent older adults in the Northeast of Thailand]. Journal of MCU Peace Studies, 5(Sp1), 387-405.
• Sawatzky, J. E., & Fowler-Kerry, S. (2003). Impact of caregiving: Listening to the voice of informal caregiver. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 10(3), 277-286.
• Sinclair, S., Raffin-Bouchal, S., Venturato, L., Mijovic-Kondejewski, J., & Smith-MacDonald, L. (2017). Compassion fatigue: A meta-narrative review of the healthcare literature. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 69, 9-24.
• Tunajek, S. (2006, September). Compassion fatigue: Dealing with an occupational hazard. AANA NewsBulletin.
• Wan, K. F., & Wong, M. M. C. (2019). Stress and burden faced by family caregivers of people with schizophrenia and early psychosis in Hong Kong. Internal Medicine Journal, 49(S1), 9-15.
• Whitlatch, C. J., Schur, D., Noelker, L. S., Ejaz, F. K., & Looman, W. J. (2001). The stress process of family caregiving in institutional settings. The Gerontologist, 41(4), 462-473.
• Young, L., Murata, L., McPherson, C., Jacob, J. D., & Vandyk. A. D. (2019). Exploring the experiences of parent caregivers of adult children with schizophrenia: A systematic review. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 33(1), 93-103.