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Support Care Cancer. 2013 Mar;21(3):819-26. doi: 10.1007/s00520-012-1585-6. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Economic and social changes among distressed family caregivers of lung cancer patients.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. cemosher@iupui.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Although costs of lung cancer care have been documented, economic and social changes among lung cancer patients' family caregivers have yet to be fully examined. In addition, research has not focused on caregivers with greater need for support services. This study examined various economic and social changes among distressed family caregivers of lung cancer patients during the initial months of cancer care in the USA.

METHODS:

Lung cancer patients' primary family caregivers with significant anxiety or depressive symptoms were recruited from three medical centers within 12 weeks of the patient's new oncology visit. Caregivers (N = 83) reported demographic and medical information and caregiving burden at baseline. Seventy-four caregivers reported anxiety and depressive symptoms and economic and social changes 3 months later.

RESULTS:

Seventy-four percent of distressed caregivers experienced one or more adverse economic or social changes since the patient's illness. Common changes included caregivers' disengagement from most social and leisure activities (56%) and, among employed caregivers (n = 49), reduced hours of work (45%). In 18% of cases, a family member quit work or made another major lifestyle change due to caregiving. Additionally, 28% of caregivers reported losing the main source of family income, and 18% reported losing most or all of the family savings. Loss of the main source of family income and disengagement from most social and leisure activities predicted greater caregiver distress.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings suggest that distressed caregivers of lung cancer patients experience high rates of adverse economic and social changes that warrant clinical and research attention.

PMID:
22945881
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3560318
Free PMC Article
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