Family caregivers of cancer patients report high burden leading to poor emotional and physical health. Knowledge of predisposing factors could contribute to its prevention or early detection. The aim of this study was to identify the factors related to caregiver burden among caregivers of cancer patients.
90 cancer patients hospitalised in two oncological wards in Crete, Greece and their primary caregivers (PCs) were included in the study. They both provided their demographics, while PCs completed the Bakas Caregiving Outcomes Scale (BCOS), comprising 15 self-rated items (7-point response scale with reduced BCOS scores implying higher burden) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), comprising 14 self-rated items in a 4-point scale (0-3).
Most patients were male (52.2%) and most PCs were female (67.8%), aged 50 to 74 years old (52.2% and 54.4% respectively). The majority of PCs (44.3%) were spouses. The mean of burden using the BCOS was 56.7 (SD 10.9) (range 22-100), 75.6% experienced no burden (total score > 52.5), while 24.4% reported high burden (total score < 52.5). High level of anxiety (≥ 11) using the HADS was reported by 55.6% of PCs and high level of depression (≥ 11) by 20%. The correlations between BCOS and HAD-Anxiety (r=-0.401, p < 0.001) and BCOS and HAD-Depression (r=-0.402, p < 0.001) were negatively moderate. Older age PCs appear to experience higher burden (r=-0.278, p = 0.008) and depression (r = 0.372, p < 0.001), while the duration of caregiving also imposes more anxiety (r=-0.322, p = 0.002) and depression (r = 0.262, p = 0.013). On the other hand, depression correlates negatively with the educational background of both patients (r=-0.247, p = 0,019) and caregivers (r=-0.283, p = 0.007).
Primary caregiver anxiety, depression, age, the duration of caregiving and the patient and caregiver educational background are factors related to caregiver burden. Larger sample studies are needed to better identify the factors affecting caregiver burden.
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All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.