Quality of life of family caregivers at 2 years after a relative's cancer diagnosis

Authors

  • Youngmee Kim,

    Corresponding author
    1. Behavioral Research Center, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, USA
    2. Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA
    • Department of Psychology, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33124-0751, USA
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  • Rachel L. Spillers

    1. Behavioral Research Center, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, USA
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Abstract

Purpose: Although a growing body of research has documented the quality of life (QOL) of cancer survivors beyond the initial phase of the survivorship, similar knowledge about family caregivers of cancer survivors remains limited. Thus, the current study aimed: (a) to characterize the multidimensional aspects of the QOL of family caregivers of cancer survivors at 2 years after the diagnosis and (b) to predict certain aspects of caregivers' QOL by their demographic and caregiving characteristics.

Methods: A total of 1635 caregivers of cancer survivors participated in the nationwide Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers. Multidimensional aspects of QOL were assessed, including mental and physical health, as well as psychological adjustment and spirituality at 2 years post-diagnosis of their relatives' cancer.

Results: Family caregivers reported normal levels of QOL after 2 years post-diagnosis, except that they were more likely to experience increased awareness of spirituality than do individuals who personally experience a chronic illness. In addition, caregivers' age and income and care-recipients' poor mental and physical functioning were significant predictors of their QOL at 2 years post-diagnosis.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that younger, relatively poor caregivers who are providing care to relatives with poor mental and physical functioning may benefit from interventions to help in their spirituality and psychological and physical adjustment, 2 years after the initial cancer diagnosis. In addition, older, relatively poor caregivers may benefit from programs to reduce the physical burden of caregiving. These findings have implications for advancing public health research and practice. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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