Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a major public health concern, particularly in low- and middle-income countries like in Latin America. Family members are often caregivers for individuals with TBI, which can result in significant stress. Research is needed to examine depression and quality of the caregiving relationship in these dyads. This study examined relationship quality and depression longitudinally after TBI within the caregiving relationship.
Dyads (N = 109) comprised of individuals with TBI and their caregivers were recruited from three hospitals in Mexico and Colombia. They self-reported depression and relationship satisfaction during hospitalization and at two- and four-months post-hospitalization.
A 2-lag Actor Partner Interdependence Model demonstrated that patients and caregivers reporting high relationship satisfaction at baseline experienced lower depression two months later, which then predicted higher caregiver relationship satisfaction at four months. Moreover, patients with high relationship satisfaction at baseline had caregivers with lower depression at two months, which was then associated with patients’ higher satisfaction at four months.
Within individuals with TBI and caregivers, depression and relationship satisfaction appear to be inversely related. Further, patients’ and caregivers’ depression and relationship satisfaction impact each other over time, demonstrating interdependence within the caregiving relationship.