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Support Care Cancer. 2014 Sep;22(9):2473-8. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2241-0. Epub 2014 Apr 11.

Assessing patient-caregiver communication in cancer--a psychometric validation of the Cancer Communication Assessment Tool (CCAT-PF) in a German sample.

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  • 1Department of General Internal Medicine and Psychosomatics, Heidelberg University Hospital, Im Neuenheimer Feld 410, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany,



The recently introduced Cancer Communication Assessment Tool (CCAT-PF) measures congruence in patient-caregiver communication and was initially validated in lung cancer patients. Contributing to a greater proportion of the variance in the conflict scores, primary caregivers were hypothesized to experience greater stress. For a detailed understanding of conflicting communication patterns of cancer-affected families, our study aimed for psychometric validation of the CCAT-PF in a sample covering heterogeneous tumor entities.


Subsequent to a cross-sectional survey of 189 pairs of cancer patients (31 % gastrointestinal, 34 % lung, and 35 % urological) and their caregivers' exploratory factor analysis with principal component condensation and varimax rotation was conducted (response rate, 74.2 %). Reliability and construct validity were assessed calculating Cronbach's α and Pearson correlation coefficients for CCAT-P and CCAT-F scales and related constructs, respectively.


Cancer-related communication according to the CCAT-PF can be subdivided into four factors including the scales Disclosure, Limitation of treatment, Family involvement in treatment decisions, and Continuing treatment. Reliability ranged from α = .51-.68. The Disclosure scale, describing poor cancer-related communication of the patient, was correlated with patient's distress (QSC-R10: r = .30, p < .0001), unmet needs in several areas (SCNS-SF-34: r = .25-.32, p < .001), and negatively with social/family well-being (FACT: r = -0.31, p < .0001). Higher scores on the scale were significantly associated with considerable decrements in emotional well-being especially for caregivers perceiving patients' disclosure as problematic.


The Disclosure scale originating from the CCAT-PF emerged as a short, valid, and reliable stand-alone instrument for identifying conflicting communication in patient-caregiver-dyads at risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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