We recruited 50 cancer patients and their caregivers with the aim of extending our knowledge of emotional, personality and psychosocial variables, and comparing their reciprocal experience of the disease. The patients and caregivers were administered four of the questionnaires included in the Cognitive Behavioral Assessment 2.0, the Family Strain Questionnaire and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. The patients were characterised by significantly greater emotional disturbances than their caregivers, who were emotionally stable and had a relatively low level of perceived strain despite their high level of hostility and state anxiety. The intra-scale correlations highlighted the fact that the perception of distress depends on neuroticism and the presence of anxiety and depression (which are themselves known to be connected with neuroticism).

The everyday life of the caregivers seemed to be characterised by restricted social relationships and interests; a relatively large proportion also declared that they had practical problems related to disease management, economics and some embarrassing and stigmatic aspects of the disease itself. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.