Associations between caregiving worries and psychophysical well-being. An investigation on home-cared cancer patients family caregivers

Abstract

Purpose

Caregiving to a family member with cancer might have health implications. However, limited research has investigated the psychophysical health of home-cared cancer patients family caregivers. In a previous study, we have found that a prolonged worry in daily life is a crucial variable compared to caregivers’ psychophysical symptomatology. This investigation was designed to further examine the well-being of family caregivers, explore the domains of worry, and assess to what extent “content-dependent” worry could be associated with the caregivers’ health

Methods

The sample consisted of 100 family caregivers of oncological patients assisted at home. Participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires (Penn State Worry Questionnaire, Worry Domain Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Family Strain Questionnaire Short Form, and Psychophysiological Questionnaire of the Battery CBA 2.0).

Results

The level of worry was medium-high among participants, and caregivers worry more about their occupation and future. Depression, anxiety, and somatic symptomatology levels resulted mild, while strain level resulted high. Statistical analyses confirm the conclusions of the previous study, revealing a significant positive correlation between worry levels and caregivers’ psychophysical health. Innovatively, it has been highlighted that who has higher scores of content-dependent worry shows also higher levels of strain, somatic symptoms, anxiety, and depression

Conclusions

Not only trait-worry (“content-free” measure) but also content-dependent worry is associated with strain and negative health outcomes. People may worry about different targets, and it might be useful to further investigate what are the specific worriers of family caregivers in order to promote their physical and emotional well-being.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all the family caregivers that participated in the study. This work was possible only because they gave their time and shared their experiences with us.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Correspondence to Veronica Zavagli.

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Zavagli, V., Miglietta, E., Varani, S. et al. Associations between caregiving worries and psychophysical well-being. An investigation on home-cared cancer patients family caregivers. Support Care Cancer 24, 857–863 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-015-2854-y

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Keywords

  • Caregiving
  • Family caregiver
  • Worry
  • Psychophysical well-being
  • Cancer
  • Oncological home-care