Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 745–761 | Cite as

Association between dyadic interventions and outcomes in cancer patients: a meta-analysis

  • Yanli Hu
  • Tao Liu
  • Fan LiEmail author
Review Article



Patient–caregiver dyadic interventions are when “interventions are offered to cancer patients and their family caregivers together as the unit of care.” The purpose of the present study was to determine the association of dyadic intervention for cancer patients and their family caregivers with quality of life (QOL), and other outcomes for people with cancer.


Literature searches were conducted using the electronic databases to identify all randomized clinical trials on cancer patient–caregiver dyads. Meta-analysis was used to analyze data.


Twenty-three RCTs provided data on 2317 patient–caregiver dyads. In the meta-analysis, at the 0- to 3-month follow-up, dyadic intervention was associated with statistically and clinically significant improvements in patient total QOL (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01–0.50); the total spiritual aspect of QOL (SMD, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.06–0.50); the emotional (SMD, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.02–0.29), social (SMD, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.07–0.36), and mental (SMD, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.07–0.46) aspects of QOL; depression (SMD, − 0.35; 95% CI, − 0.65 to − 0.05); anxiety (SMD, − 0.42; 95% CI, − 0.70 to − 0.13); relatedness (SMD, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.04–0.32); and marital functioning (SMD, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.05–1.97). At the 3.1- to 6-month follow-up, dyadic intervention was associated with significant improvements in patient social aspect (SMD, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.03–0.35) and depression (SMD, − 0.29; 95% CI, − 0.56 to − 0.03). There was no association between dyadic interventions and the patient functional and physical aspects of QOL. Dyadic intervention was associated consistently with no improvements in hopelessness, pain, fatigue, and survival.


In this review, dyadic interventions for caregivers and cancer patients were associated with improvements in multiple psychosocial aspects of patient outcomes.


Cancer patient Caregiver Dyads Meta-analysis 



We acknowledge the School of Nursing of Jilin University for giving us the opportunity to pursue our dreams. We thank Guoqing Wang, Ph.D., for submitting the manuscript to native English speakers for revision. We also thank Guangwei Zhang, Ph.D., Minmin Leng, M.N., and Dandan Chen, M.N., Jilin University, for reviewing and screening the literature to select qualified research and their guidance regarding risk of bias assessment.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data disclosure

Both the corresponding author and the first author have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review their data if requested.

Supplementary material

520_2018_4556_MOESM1_ESM.doc (504 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 504 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Medical Research Center, Second Teaching HospitalUniversity of Jilin School of MedicineChangchunChina
  3. 3.School of Nursing, The Key Laboratory of Zoonosis, Chinese Ministry of Education, College of Basic Medical ScienceJilin UniversityChangchunChina

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