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Caregivers of Bipolar Patients Have Worst Mental QoL

Feb 3, 2012

Kantar Health Research Shows Caregivers Have Higher Work, Activity Impairment When Caring for Bipolar Patients Compared with Alzheimer’s or Cancer Patients

NEW YORK, February 3, 2012—Mental quality of life (QoL) is much lower among caregivers of adults with bipolar disorder when compared with caregivers for other chronic diseases, according to research from Kantar Health’s National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS). The mental well-being of bipolar caregivers is much lower than those who care for patients with such diseases as Alzheimer’s, cancer, schizophrenia, chronic kidney disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“As the Baby Boomers are retiring, diagnoses of diseases commonly related to old age are increasing, and more attention is being paid to the mental and physical health of their caregivers,” says Michael Fronstin, COO of Kantar Health. “While people who are caring for family members or friends with Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer report lower mental QoL than the average American, our research found that caring for someone with bipolar disorder causes a greater strain on the caregiver’s mental well-being as well as their ability to work or participate in activities.”

Mental QoL for the average US adult is measured at 48.23, compared with 45.60 for the population who identified themselves as the caregiver of an adult relative. For caregivers of people with bipolar disorder this score drops to 39.82, compared with 46.46 for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, 45.35 for caregivers of cancer patients, and 44.66 for caregivers of stroke patients. QoL scores are calculated from the SF-12v2, a series of 12 validated questions that are scored to provide an index of respondents’ mental health, physical health and overall quality of life.

Caregivers of bipolar patients also report an overall work impairment due to health of 43.9% and an activity impairment of 42.3%. Work impairment for the average US adult is 15.8%, compared with 27.5% for caregivers overall; activity impairment for US adults is 22.8%, compared with 30.9% for all caregivers. Higher numbers in this scale indicate greater impairment and less productivity.

“Typically healthcare systems focus on a patient’s condition, level of severity and treatment outcomes,” Fronstin says. “However, it’s also important to recognize the incremental burden placed on caregivers and find ways to reduce these burdens.”


About the National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS)

The study’s results were drawn from the 2010 US NHWS, a nationally representative, self-administered survey conducted annually via the Internet. Topics covered include the health status, attitudes, behaviors and outcomes among adults 18 or older.

Kantar Health conducts NHWS annually in the US, Europe, Asia, Russia and Latin America. The survey is the largest self-reported database in the healthcare industry.                

About Kantar Health (

Kantar Health is a global, evidence-based decision support partner to the world’s leading pharmaceutical, biotech, device and diagnostic companies. Our 700+ staff act as catalysts, working closely with customers to drive distinctive decision-making that helps them prioritize product development and portfolios, differentiate their brands and ensure product profitability after launch. We are unique in that we bring together clinical, medical and methodological expertise, commercial/marketing know-how and proprietary data. It is this rare combination, together with our unparalleled stakeholder reach, that enables us to mobilize incisive, imaginative and timely ROI-driven solutions, empowering clients to deliver better healthcare options to their customers.


With offices in over 40 countries, we excel at solving technically or logistically challenging projects around the world and across the product lifecycle, combining on-the-ground know-how and global and national proprietary data to quickly identify value drivers. As part of WPP, we can also incorporate highly innovative thinking from outside the industry into our solutions.


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