Burn Out and Psychological Distress among Care Givers of Dementia Patients Attending the Out Patient Geriatric Clinics of Two Nigerian Tertiary Health Institutions

Friday E. Okwaraji *

Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria.

Godwin C. Onyebueke

Department of Psychological Medicine, ESUT Teaching Hospital Park Lane, Enugu, Nigeria.

Okwor Esther Nwakaego

Department of Psychological Medicine, ESUT Teaching Hospital Park Lane, Enugu, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Aim: This study investigated burnout and psychological distress among 460 caregivers of dementia patients attending the outpatient geriatric clinics of two Nigerian tertiary health institutions. 

Study Design: The study used the descriptive cross sectional study design.

Place and Duration of the Study: The study was conducted at the outpatient geriatric clinics of two tertiary health institutions in Enugu, South East Nigeria between the months of July and August 2023.

Methodology: A total of 460 care givers of dementia patients, aged 18- 65 years, attending the outpatient geriatric clinics of two tertiary health institutions in Enugu, who consented to participate in the study, were assessed for burnout and psychological distress using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12).

Results: Result showed that 23.9% had emotional exhaustion, 14.6% had depersonalization and 18.5% had reduced personal accomplishment, while psychological distress was present in 39.6% of the respondents. Significant relationships were noticed between age and psychological distress, \(\chi\)2=57.36; p= 0.03; marital status and burnout \(\chi\)2=10.95; P= 0.01 as well as education and psychological distress \(\chi\)2=10.95; p= 0.05.

Conclusion: High levels of burnout and psychological distress were present among the caregivers who participated in the study, in view of this there is need for government to ensure proper institutional care for dementia patients and provide some incentives for those who care for them. Policy formulation should also aim at establishing community caregiving centers were dementia patients can receive adequate attention from government agencies.

Keywords: Dementia, caregiver, burnout, psychological distress, geriatric clinic, tertiary health institutions, Nigeria

How to Cite

Okwaraji , F. E., Onyebueke , G. C., & Nwakaego , O. E. (2023). Burn Out and Psychological Distress among Care Givers of Dementia Patients Attending the Out Patient Geriatric Clinics of Two Nigerian Tertiary Health Institutions. International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal, 20(4), 15–23. https://doi.org/10.9734/indj/2023/v20i4407


Download data is not yet available.


National Institute of Aging. What is dementia? 2022.

Available:https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-is-dementia. Accessed on 7/5/23

Prince M, Wimo A, Guerchet M, Ali GC, Wu YT and Prina M. World Alzheimer Report: The Global Impact of Dementia-An Analysis of Prevalence, Incidence, Cost and Trends. Alzheimer’s Disease International; 2015.

Adeloye D, Auta A, Ezejimofor M, Oyedokun A, Harhay MO, Rudan I and Chan KY. Prevalence of dementia in Nigeria: a systematic review of the evidence. Journal of Global Health Reports 2019.

Available:https//doi.org/ 10.29392/joghr.3.e 2019014. Accessed on 6/6/23.

Thorsen VC, Tharp ALT, Meguid T. High rates of burnout among maternal health staff at a referral hospital in Malawi: A cross sectional study. BMC Nurs¬ing. 2011;10:9.

Ibikunle P, Umeadi O, Akosile C. The prevalence and pattern of Burnout Syndrome among Nigerian Physiotherapists, The Internet Journal of Chiropractic. 2012;1(2).

Available:http//doi.org/ 10.5580/2a65.

Maslach C, Jackson SE, Leiter MP. Maslach Burn¬out Inventory Manual (3rd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consult¬ing Psychologists Press; 1996.

Embriaco N, Papzian L, Kentish-Bames N, Pochard F, Azoulay E. Burnout syndrome among critical care health care workers. Current Opinions in Critical care. 2007;13:482-488.

Maslach C and Jackson SE. The measurement of ex¬perienced burnout. Journal of Occupational Behavior. 1981;29:99-113.

Chalfont PH, Heller PL, Roberts A, Briones D, Aguirre-Hochbaum S, Farr W. The clergy as a resource for those encountering psychological distress. Review of Religious Research. 1990; 31:305-313.

Ogunniyi A, Hall KS, Baiyewu O, Gureje O, Unverzagt FW, Gao S, Hendrie HC. Caring for individuals with dementia: The Nigerian experience. West African Journal of Medicine. 2005; 24(3):259-62.

Available:https//doi.org/ 10.4314/wajm .v24i3.28211. PMID: 16276708.

Narme P. Burnout in nursing staff caring for patients with dementia: role of empathy and impact of empathy-based training program. Geriatr Psycholology and Neuropsychiatry Viei 2018; 16(2):215-222.

Available:https//doi.org/ 10.1684/pnv.2018. 0735. PMID: 29877190.

Anthony-Bergstone CR, Zarit SH, Gatz M. Symptoms of psychological distress among caregivers of dementia patients. Psychology and Aging 1998; 3(3), 245–248.


Sugawara N, Yasui-Furukori N, Maruo K, Shimoda K, Sumiyoshi T. Psychological distress in caregivers for people with dementia: A Population-Based Analysis of a National Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of Alzheimers Diseases. 2022;85(2):667-674.

Available:https//doi.org/ 10.3233/JAD-210680. PMID: 34864662.

Etters, Goodall D, Harrison BE. Caregiver burden among dementia patient caregivers: a review of the literature. Journal of The American Academy of Nurse Practice. 2003;20(8):423-8.

Available:https//doi.org/ 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2008.00342.x. PMID: 18786017.

Kazuko Hiyoshi-Taniguchi, Carl BB, Ayae Kinoshita. What behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia affect caregiver burnout?. Clinical Gerontologist. 2018;14:3,249-254.


Ramirez AJ, Graham J, Richards MA. Mental health of hospital consultants: The effects of stress and satisfaction at work. Lancet. 1996;347:724-728.

Adekola B. Gender differences in the experience of work burnout among university staff. African Journal of business management. 2009;4(6):886-889.

Okwaraji FE, Aguwa EN. Burnout and psychological distress among nurses in a Nigerian tertiary health institution. African Health Sciences. 2014;14(1):237-245


Goldberg D, & the institute of psychiatry. The General health questionnaire –12. Published by GL assessment 1981 (first published 1978). The Cheswick center, 414 Cheswick road, London. Mapi-trust.

Available:https://www.Mapi-trust.org/ questionnaires/8.Accessed on 10/6/23.

Werneke U, Goldberg DP, Yalcin I, Ustun BT. The Stability of Factor Structure of the General Health Questionnaire. Psychological Medicine. 2000;30:823-829.

Adekola B. Work burnout experience among university non teaching staff: A gender approach. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences. 2012;2: 128–135.