Guilt, censure, and concealment of active smoking status among cancer patients and family members after diagnosis: a nationwide study

Authors


Abstract

Objectives

We aimed to identify the prevalence of feelings of guilt, censure, and concealment of smoking status among cancer patients and their family members who continued to smoke after the patient's diagnosis.

Methods

Among 990 patient–family member dyads, 45 patients and 173 family members who continued to smoke for at least 1 month after the patients' diagnoses were administered questions examining feelings of guilt, censure, and smoking concealment.

Results

Most patients who continued to smoke reported experiencing feelings of guilt toward their families (75.6%) and censure from their family members (77.8%), and many concealed their smoking from their family members (44.4%) or healthcare professionals (46.7%). Family members who continued to smoke also reported feelings of guilt with respect to the patient (63.6%) and that the patient was critical of them (68.9%), and many concealed their smoking from the patient (28.5%) or healthcare professionals (9.3%). Patients' feeling of guilt was associated with concealment of smoking from family members (55.9% vs. 10.0%) or health care professionals (55.9% vs. 20.0%). Family members who reported feeling guilty (36.5% vs. 16.3%) or censured (34.5% vs. 16.7%) were more likely to conceal smoking from patients.

Conclusion

Many patients and family members continue to smoke following cancer diagnosis, and the majority of them experience feelings of guilt and censure, which can lead to the concealment of smoking status from families or health care professionals. Feelings of guilt, censure, and concealment of smoking should be considered in the development and implementation of smoking cessation programs for cancer patients and family members. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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