Dyadic quality of life among heterosexual and sexual minority breast cancer survivors and their caregivers

  • Ulrike BoehmerEmail author
  • Jeffrey E. Stokes
  • Angela R. Bazzi
  • Melissa A. Clark
Original Article



The number of informal caregivers to cancer survivors is increasing, and limited information is available about caregivers to sexual minority breast cancer survivors. The purpose of this study was to assess dyadic quality of life among sexual minority cancer survivors and their caregivers compared with heterosexual cancer survivors and their caregivers.


We recruited 167 survivors of non-metastatic breast cancer of different sexual orientations and their caregivers, who were surveyed via telephone after obtaining consent. We used inverse propensity score weighting to account for differences by sexual orientation in age and length of the survivor-caregiver relationship, and simultaneous equation models consistent with the needs for analyzing dyadic data.


About 6–7 years after diagnosis, survivors and caregivers reported quality of life scores consistent with population norms, and there were no differences by survivors’ sexual orientation. With few exceptions, caregivers’ and survivors’ quality of life influenced one another directly, and these effects were stronger among sexual minority dyads than heterosexual dyads.


Because of the strength of sexual minority, survivors’ and their caregivers’ mutual influence on each other’s quality of life, interventions, and clinical care for sexual minority breast cancer survivors should consider their caregivers.


Breast cancer Quality of life Caregiving Dyads Sexual minorities 



The authors are grateful to the participants who took the time to respond to our questions and complete the survey.

Funding information

Support for this research was provided by the American Cancer Society, Grant No. RSGT-06-135-01-CPPB PI: U. Boehmer. Additional supplemental funding was made available by the Boston University School of Public Health pilot grant.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health SciencesBoston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GerontologyUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Services, Policy and PracticeBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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