Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 14, Issue 12, pp 1258–1261 | Cite as

Differential levels of stress in caregivers of brain tumor patients—observations from a pilot study

  • Stephen T. Keir
  • Ann Bebe Guill
  • Karen E. Carter
  • Lindsay C. Boole
  • Lazaro Gonzales
  • Henry S. Friedman
Short Communication



Caregivers of patients with brain tumors (BT) experience elevated levels of stress. Using pilot data, we sought to determine which caregivers are at risk for experiencing elevated levels of stress based on caregiver-demographic and patient-medical information.


Using a convenience sample of 60 caregivers, participants were asked to complete the Perceived Stress Scale and to provide demographic information. The Perceived Stress Scale is a 10-item scale designed to measure the degree to which situations in life are perceived as stressful. Demographic information was collected using self-reported measures. Medical data concerning tumor grade of patient were obtained from most recent medical note. Data for study were standardized using z-scores and analyzed using SPSS software.


Seventy-two percent (n=43) of caregivers reported experiencing elevated levels of stress within the last 30 days. Thirty-five percent (n=21) of the sample scored at least one standard deviation above the mean. A statistical trend [F(1, 57)=3.12, p=0.08] exists between caregiver stress and tumor grade of patients for which they are providing care.


Caregivers of patients with BT experience significant stress. Furthermore, this data provide an indication of the profound levels of stress these caregivers experience. Caregivers of patients with grade I/II tumors are at increased risk for experiencing stress. Younger caregiver age and higher levels of education were also found to correlate to higher levels of stress.


Brain tumors Caregivers Differential stress 



Brain cancer


Brain Tumor Center


Duke University Medical Center


10-item Perceived Stress Scale



This study was sponsored by The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, Durham, NC, USA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen T. Keir
    • 1
  • Ann Bebe Guill
    • 1
  • Karen E. Carter
    • 1
  • Lindsay C. Boole
    • 1
  • Lazaro Gonzales
    • 1
  • Henry S. Friedman
    • 1
  1. 1.The Tug McGraw Center for Quality of Life/Supportive Care Research, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor CenterDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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