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Social Support as Influencing Primary Family Caregiver Burden in Taiwanese Patients With Colorectal Cancer


Dr. Shu-Yuan Liang, School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan, 365 Ming Te Road, Beitou, Taipei 112, Taiwan. E-mail:


Purpose: The main purpose of this study was to describe the level of experienced burden among Taiwanese primary family caregivers (PFCs) of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Another purpose was to explore the relationship between demographic variables, perceived social support, and caregiver burden.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 100 PFCs of postsurgery colorectal cancer patients (CCPs) in one teaching hospital in the Taipei area of Taiwan. The research instruments included the Caregiver Reaction Assessment and the Medical Outcome Study-Social Support Survey.

Findings: The caregivers’ total burden mean was 3.00 (SD= 0.50, range = 2.00–4.19). Social support demonstrated a significant relationship with family caregiver burden (impact on health: r=−0.48, p < .01; impact on schedule: r=−0.58, p < .01; impact on finances: r=−0.44, p < .01; lack of family support: r=−0.54, p < .01; and impact on total scale: r=−0.64, p < .01). Higher perceived social support reported by caregivers predicted lower caregiver burden. Multivariate analysis identified social support as a significant independent influence on caregiver burden after controlling for key demographic variables. Social support accounted for 33% (R2 increment = 0.33, p < .001) of the variance in caregiver burden.

Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of social support on caregiver burden in this population. Future interventions should include social support to help alleviate caregiver burden in CCPs following surgery.

Clinical Relevance: Results of this study emphasize the important role of social support to enable healthcare professionals to become more effective while caring for caregivers of the patient with CRC who has undergone surgery. The findings of the present study may facilitate cross-cultural comparison and cultural-oriented management of caregiver burden. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2011; XX:X, XXX–XXX. ©2011 Sigma Theta Tau International.