Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 168–179 | Cite as

An Examination of a Simplified Stroke Rehabilitation Program for Reducing Family Caregiver’s Burden for Stroke Patients in Rural China

  • Yanqun PengEmail author
  • Cameron C. Brown
  • Jing Zhang
  • Xiaojun Tang
  • Bo Zhou
  • Yi Zhao
  • Lijing Yan
Original Paper


With stroke being one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, families and social systems may face strain as they adjust to a caregiving role. This strain may be amplified in family systems living in rural areas due to limited access to resources. Thus, it is important for helping professionals such as couple, marriage, and family therapists to understand what facets of this disability are linked with caregiver strain as well as to explore and understand various interventions that may ease caregiver burden. Using existing data from 177 pairs of stroke patients and their family caregivers in rural Mainland China, the present study utilized a moderation analysis to examine (1) the association between stroke patient physical functioning, patient mental health, and their family caregiver burden and (2) how a developed patient rehabilitation intervention program for caregivers moderated the association between patient physical functioning as well as mental health and caregiver burden 6-month post intervention. Results suggested that better patient physical functioning were related to lower levels of caregiver burden (b = − 1.418, p < .001, β = − 0.33). However, the developed rehabilitation intervention program did not significantly moderate the association between stroke patient physical functioning as well as mental health and caregiver burden. These findings provide insight into correlates of stroke patients’ caregiver burden in rural China. Development of more effective rehabilitation programs and interventions for stroke patients and their family caregivers as well how couple, marriage, and family therapists may be uniquely qualified to contribute to such interventions is discussed.


Stroke patients Stroke rehabilitation Family caregivers Family caregivers burden 



Funding was provided by China Medical Board (Grant No. 13-161), The Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute, The China International Center on Chronic Disease Prevention and Duke University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by China Medical University, Ningxia Medical University, and Chongqing Medical University’s ethics committees and was registered at (NCT02247921).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Family Studies and Human ServicesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  3. 3.The George InstituteBeijingChina
  4. 4.Chongqing Medical UniversityChongqingChina
  5. 5.First Hospital of China Medical UniversityShenyangChina
  6. 6.NingXia Medical UniversityYinchuanChina
  7. 7.Duke Kunshan UniversityKunshanChina

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