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Cogn Behav Ther. 2005;34(2):115-23.

A burden to others: a common source of distress for the terminally ill.

Author information

1
Institute for Rehabilitation Research and Development, The Rehabilitation Centre, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada. kewilson@ottawahospital.on.ca

Abstract

Recent research into the desire for death among people with terminal illness has begun to recognize the importance of "feeling oneself a burden to others" as a factor in suicidal behaviour. In this study, 69 patients with advanced cancer underwent semi-structured interviews. The sense of self-perceived burden was found to be a common experience, reported by 39.1% of participants as a minimal or mild concern and by 38% as a moderate to extreme concern. The sense of burden showed a low correlation with physical symptoms (r = 0.02-0.24) and higher correlations with psychological problems (r = 0.35-0.39) and existential issues (r = 0.45-0.49). Comparisons of participants with high or low levels of self-perceived burden showed the importance of this factor for overall quality of life. In summary, self-perceived burden is an important but underestimated dimension of social cognition in the medically ill.

PMID:
15986788
DOI:
10.1080/16506070510008461
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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