Association between hope and burden reported by family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study, in a sample of family caregivers (FCs) of patients with advanced cancer, was to describe the level of FC burden using the Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA). In addition, the effects of select FC and patient characteristics on each of the CRA subscales were evaluated.

Methods

FCs and patients (n = 112) completed a demographic questionnaire, and Herth Hope Index, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. FCs completed the CRA. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analyses.

Results

For three of the five CRA subscales (i.e., “impact on finances”, “impact on daily schedule”, and “impact on health”), the mean scores were comparable to a Norwegian sample of FCs caring for patients in the late palliative phase. The variance in each of the CRA subscales was explained by different factors. Total explained variance ranged from 5.5 % (“lack of family support”) to 31.8 % (“impact on daily schedule”). FC characteristics, such as being female and lower educational level, distress regarding the patient’s pain, anxiety, depression, and level of hope, as well as the patients’ number of comorbidities, depression, and hope contributed to an increase in various domains of FC burden. FCs’ level of hope was a significant predictor for three of the CRA subscales (i.e., “self-esteem”, “lack of family support”, and “impact on health”).

Conclusions

Findings suggest that FCs’ and patients’ level of hope are important determinants of caregiver burden and that FCs with lower levels of hope represent a high-risk group for higher levels of caregiver burden.

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Acknowledgments

The study was funded by The Research Council of Norway and Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Norway.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any competing financial interests. The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.

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Correspondence to Inger Utne.

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Utne, I., Miaskowski, C., Paul, S.M. et al. Association between hope and burden reported by family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer. Support Care Cancer 21, 2527–2535 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-013-1824-5

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Keywords

  • Oncology
  • Family caregiver
  • Burden
  • Hope
  • Cancer pain