Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 225–235

Distressed Partners and Caregivers Do Not Recover Easily: Adjustment Trajectories Among Partners and Caregivers of Cancer Survivors

  • Sylvie D. Lambert
  • Bobby L. Jones
  • Afaf Girgis
  • Christophe Lecathelinais
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-012-9385-2

Cite this article as:
Lambert, S.D., Jones, B.L., Girgis, A. et al. ann. behav. med. (2012) 44: 225. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9385-2



Although a number of cross-sectional studies document the distress experienced by partners and caregivers of cancer survivors, few have considered their potential differential patterns of adjustment over time.


Identify distinct trajectories of anxiety and depression among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors and predictors of these trajectories.


Participants completed a survey to examine the impact of caring for, or living with, a cancer survivor at 6, 12, and 24 months post-survivor diagnosis. Anxiety and depression were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Nanxiety = 510; Ndepression = 511).


Anxiety trajectories included: no anxiety (15.1% scored <3; 37.8% scored 3–5); chronic, borderline anxiety (33.2%); and chronic, clinical anxiety (13.9%). The depression trajectories were: no depression (38.9% scored <2; 31.5% scored around 3); a sustained score of 7 (25.5%); and chronic, clinical depression (4.1%). Variables associated with the trajectories included most of the psychosocial variables.


Findings highlight that most caregivers maintained their baseline level of distress, which is particularly concerning for participants reporting chronic anxiety or depression.


AnxietyDepressionLongitudinal studyCaregiversTrajectoriesPsychological adjustment

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvie D. Lambert
    • 1
  • Bobby L. Jones
    • 2
  • Afaf Girgis
    • 1
  • Christophe Lecathelinais
    • 3
  1. 1.Translational Cancer Research Unit, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, Faculty of MedicineThe University of New South WalesLiverpool BCAustralia
  2. 2.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPennsylvaniaUSA
  3. 3.Hunter New England Population HealthNewcastleAustralia