Walking a mile in their shoes: anxiety and depression among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors at 6 and 12 months post-diagnosis
- First Online:
- 988 Downloads
This study aims to examine the prevalence of psychosocial variables associated with anxiety and depression among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors, compare prevalence with community norms and report differences across cancer diagnosis.
A prospective survey of partners and caregivers was undertaken to assess anxiety and depression and potential psychosocial variables associated with these outcomes at 6 and 12 months post-survivor diagnosis (N = 436).
Although the proportion of anxious participants decreased over time (p = 0.01), the percentage of those depressed remained stable (p = 0.68). Most participants who were depressed were also anxious. To a certain extent, the prevalence of anxiety and depression exceeded community norms and varied across cancer types. Partners and caregivers particularly vulnerable included those of lung, haematological or head and neck survivors. High use of avoidant coping and interference in regular activities were associated with both anxiety and depression across time points. Of the different types of support measured, only lower emotional/informational support was associated with anxiety and depression at 6 months, whereas lower positive social interaction was associated with depression at 12 months. Additional variables associated with anxiety and depression at 12 months included higher unmet needs and involvement in personal and medical tasks, respectively.
Even at 12 months post-survivor diagnosis, almost a third of participants reported anxiety, a result partially predicted by high use of avoidant coping and interference in regular activities. Understanding variables associated with partners’ and caregivers’ anxiety and depression can lead to optimal referral to supportive care services and inform the tailoring of interventions to address those variables contributing to anxiety and depression at particular time points.
KeywordsAnxiety Depression Caregivers Coping Social support Caregiving burden
- 2.Girgis A, Lambert SD (2009) Caregivers of cancer survivors: the state of the field. Cancer Forum 33(3):167–171Google Scholar
- 8.Donnelly JM, Kornblith AB, Fleishman S, et al. (2000) A pilot study of interpersonal psychotherapy by telephone with cancer patients and their partners. Psychooncology 9:44–56Google Scholar
- 19.Lazarus R, Folkman S (1984) Stress, appraisal, and coping. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 21.Thomas C, Morris S, Soothill K, McIllmurray M, Francis B, Harman J What are the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and their main carers? The Institute for Health Research, Lancaster University. Available at http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/apsocsci/cancer/complete. Accessed 10 March 2009
- 26.Ware JE, Kosinski M, Turner-Bowker DM, Gandeck B (2002) User's manual for the SF-12v2™ health survey with a supplement documenting SF-12® health survey. QualityMetric Incorporated, LincolnGoogle Scholar
- 34.The NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care, the National Centre for Social Research, and the Department of Health Sciences. Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007. University of Leicester. www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/. Accessed August 15th, 2011
- 35.Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results. ABS Cat No. 4326.0. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.Google Scholar
- 37.Hosmer D, Lemeshow S (1989) Applied logistic regression. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 40.Kurtz M, Kurtz JC, Given C, Given B (2004) Depression and physical health among family caregivers of geriatric patients with cancer—a longitudinal view. Med Sci Mon 10(8):447–456Google Scholar
- 44.Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010) Australia’s health 2010. Australia’s health series no. 12. Cat. no. AUS 122. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, CanberraGoogle Scholar