Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Objectives—The present study tested an attribution model of help-giving in family caregivers of persons with schizophrenia as it relates to caregivers’ reported burden. We hypothesized (a) that caregivers’ attributions of their ill relatives’ responsibility for their symptoms would be associated with more negative and less positive affective reactions, (b) that affective reactions would be related to perceptions of administered support, and (c) that support would in turn predict greater burden.

Methods—We examined 60 family caregivers of Mexican origin living in Southern California. Mexican Americans were chosen because of their high degree of contact with their ill relative thereby facilitating the examination of help-giving and burden. Contrary to past studies, caregivers’ attributions and affective stance were assessed independently, the former based on self-report and the latter based on codes drawn from the Camberwell Family Interview. Caregiver burden was assessed at baseline and one year later.

Results—Path analyses showed partial support for the attribution model of help-giving. Specifically, attributions of responsibility negatively predicted caregiver’s warmth, which in turn predicted more administered support. Contrary to hypotheses, attributions were not associated with caregiver criticism, and criticism was positively related to administered support. In addition, caregiver support was not related to burden at either baseline or a year later. Criticism was a significant predictor of burden at follow-up through burden at baseline.

Conclusion—The emotional stance of caregivers predicts burden independent of the help they provide. Caregiver criticism not only predicts negative patient outcomes but can predict negative caregiver outcomes as well.


© 2017 The British Psychological Society. Original published version available at

Publication Title

British Journal of Clinical Psychology



Included in

Psychology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.