A comparison of patient and family caregiver prospective control over lung cancer


M.M. Lobchuk: e-mail: michelle_lobchuk@umanitoba.ca


lobchuk m.m., mcpherson c.j., mcclement s.e. & cheang m. (2011) A comparison of patient and family caregiver prospective control over lung cancer. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(5), 1122–1133.


Aim.  This paper is a report of our secondary analysis of patient and family caregiver prospective control in lung cancer.

Background.  Control beliefs underlie self-care in sickness and health. Self-care often involves ‘shared’ activities between the afflicted individual and caregiving family and friends. However, depending on how control is perceived, conflicts can occur in decision-making thus jeopardizing optimal self-care. We need to comprehend how control beliefs compare between patients and caregivers and how their control beliefs are linked with dealing with serious illness.

Methods.  Based on questionnaire data collected in our larger study between September 2005 and February 2009, we conducted exploratory comparative analyses of 304 patients’ and caregivers’ control beliefs in managing lung cancer. Eight 5-point response items captured prospective control. Exploratory factor analysis with promax rotation was conducted to compare dyadic perceptions on the dimensionality of prospective control. We also conducted exploratory correlations between control beliefs and smoking cessation, attributional reactions, caregiver helping and symptom reports.

Results.  Principal component analysis identified the same factors for patients and caregivers: factor 1, Fate control and factor 2, Team control. Patient and caregiver ‘Fate’ and ‘Team’ control sub-scales were respectively associated with hope, caregiver helping and patient smoking cessation.

Conclusion.  Clinicians need to support, adapt or develop a philosophy of cancer care that is inclusive of partnerships, drawing on beliefs of patients and caregivers that controlling lung cancer is a team effort which in turn is tentatively linked to patient smoking cessation, positive emotions and caregiver helping.