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Soc Sci Med. 1995 Feb;40(4):517-28.

A problem solving intervention for caregivers of cancer patients.

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Ringel Institute of Gerontology, School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, State University of New York 12222, USA.


Effects of a psychosocial intervention program on spouses of cancer patients, and on the cancer patients themselves, will be described. A six session intervention program, which included support, problem-solving and coping skills, was designed to help spouses to cope with the stress of caring for their partner. Forty male and forty female spouses of cancer patients of a regional oncology center were randomly assigned to intervention or usual treatment conditions. Spouses and patients were interviewed prior to intervention, and within two weeks after intervention on a battery of assessment instruments including: (1) demographic variables; (2) psychological variables; (3) health status; (4) social supports; (5) assessment of pressing problems; (6) coping skills; (7) burden levels; and (8) marital satisfaction. Participants were found to be more psychologically distressed than the general population but were not as distressed as psychiatric outpatients. Differences were also found in marital satisfaction and coping activities, when compared to the general population. No significant differences between the conditions were found on any of the measures. Caregivers' level of caregiving activities proved to be low. It is suggested that this may account for why the intervention only appeared effective for a distressed subsample of the caregivers in the study. The implications of these findings is discussed. Recommendations are also made for future research on cancer caregivers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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