Perceptions of economic hardship and emotional health in a pilot sample of family caregivers
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- Bradley, S.E., Sherwood, P.R., Kuo, J. et al. J Neurooncol (2009) 93: 333. doi:10.1007/s11060-008-9778-z
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Although several studies have quantified costs of cancer care; none to date have examined how cancer costs impact family caregivers’ emotional health. This study was designed to evaluate how perceptions of economic hardship influence burden, depressive symptoms, and anxiety in family caregivers of persons with a primary malignant brain tumor. Caregiver (CG)/patient dyads (n = 33) were recruited at the time of diagnosis; data were collected at diagnosis and 4 months, and linear regression determined the impact of economic hardship on caregivers’ emotional health. Economic hardship did not predict CG burden-schedule at diagnosis or 4 months. Economic hardship predicted burden-abandonment at diagnosis (P < 0.01), but not 4 months. There was a trend for economic hardship to predict CG depressive symptoms at 4 months (P = 0.09), but not at diagnosis. Economic hardship predicted CG anxiety at 4 months (P = 0.06), but not diagnosis. Results suggest caregivers’ economic hardship is an important and dynamic aspect of the emotional health of neuro-oncology family caregivers.