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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007 Sep;34(3):294-304. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Cancer caregivers' quality of life: effects of gender, relationship, and appraisal.

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  • 1Behavioral Research Center, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, USA.


The objective of this study was to examine caregivers' gender and relationship to the cancer survivor as plausible predictors of their appraisals of providing care, and to further examine the association of the caregivers' appraisal with their own quality of life. Of the 739 caregivers who participated in the American Cancer Society's Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers, 627 were either the spouse or the offspring of a cancer survivor. Of those, 448 who provided complete information on study variables were included in this study. Multivariate analyses revealed that male caregivers were more likely to appraise the caregiving experience as boosting their self-esteem (positive) than female caregivers, whereas adult daughters appraised the experience as stressful (negative), and sons appraised the experience as the least stressful. More importantly, caregivers' esteem and caregiving stress were strong predictors of the caregivers' quality of life. These effects were significant after controlling for potentially confounding variables. The findings suggest that cancer caregivers may benefit from programs designed to assist them in viewing their involvement in cancer care as meaningful and as a personal growth experience, as well as helping them to seek support to minimize their caregiving stress.

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