Family Burden in Cancer Care

Wednesday, 15 July 2009: 11:05 AM

Evridiki Papastavrou, PhD
NURSING, SCHOOL of HEALTH Sciences, Cyprus University of Technology, Nicosia, Cyprus

Learning Objective 1: to understand the difficulties of families when giving care to a patient suffering from cancer

Learning Objective 2: develop knowledge in family intervention strategies as regards the management of care and coping with the caring stressors.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the caregiver outcomes among relatives caring for patients with cancer and to examine the patient and family caregiver variables that predicted for caregiver burden and depression
Methods: One hundred and thirty caregivers completed two caregiver outcomes instruments: The Greek version of the Burden Interview (BI) and the Greek version of the Center of Epidemiology-Depression scale (CES-D). The caregivers' and the care recipients’ demographics were obtained and the participants were also asked to complete the Greek version of the Ways of Coping Questionnaire. Principal component analysis was performed to examine the underlying dimensions of caregiver outcome measures. One-way ANOVA and independent sample t-tests were used to test for differences in burden and depression in relation to demographic variables of interest. Pearson correlation and stepwise multivariate regression analyses were also performed.
Results: One-way ANOVA showed that there are significant differences among the various educational levels (p<0.001) and the income (p=0.05) of the caregiver in terms of overall burden. 66.4% of caregivers had a depression above the usual cutoff point for depression. An independent samples t-test for possible gender differences, showed that there is a significant difference between males and females (p=0.029), where females reported higher depressive symptoms compared to males. In regression analysis it was found that only caregiver’s income and patient’s age are statistically significant in predicting burden and depression. When considering high-burdened caregivers results showed that there are significant differences in the use of coping strategies (p<0.001). The highly burdened caregivers use emotionally focused strategies significantly more compared to positive approaches.
Conclusion: Caregivers reported high levels of burden and depression. These outcomes of caregiving are related to several variables, but the caregiver’s income and patient’s age are predictive.