The positive aspects of caregiving for cancer patients: a critical review of the literature and directions for future research


  • This article was published online on 28 May 2013. Errors were subsequently identified. This notice is included in the online version to indicate that it has been corrected [16 September 2013].



Although there is a vast body of studies exploring the negative aspects of spousal caregiving for cancer patients, there have also been reports on the positive aspects. The objective of this review was to summarize and appraise the positive aspects of spousal caregiving and to identify directions for future research.


A systematic search was conducted to identity articles published in English or Chinese from January 1996 to July 2012. Studies were located using an electronic search, a manual search, and an author search.


A total of 35 articles were identified and included in this review. The focus of these studies and their results were described on the basis of the Conceptual Framework of the Positive Aspects of Caregiving. The findings revealed that spousal caregivers for cancer patients experienced various positive aspects of caregiving, such as an enhanced relationship with the care-receiver, the feeling of being rewarded, a sense of personal growth, and a perception of personal satisfaction. Daily enrichment events and self-efficacy on the part of the caregivers were identified as the determining factors in the positive aspects of caregiving.


All of the three domains of the positive aspects of caregiving are interdependent and worked together to contribute to the positive outcomes experienced by spousal caregivers. An intervention program specially designed to enhance the positive aspects of caregiving will support spouses caring for cancer patients. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.