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The Role of Perceived Burden in Cancer Caregivers’ Health-Related Outcomes

1 January 2017


Objective: This study evaluates the effect of caregiver burden on psychological and physical health-outcomes of caregivers of patients with cancer diagnoses. In addition, determine if socioeconomic status (SES) has a moderating effect on burden and health-outcomes. Method: Participants who were current and past cancer caregivers were recruited through online and local resources to complete an online survey. A sequential explanatory mixed methods design was used analysis of findings. Caregivers completed a demographics form, Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression (CES-D), Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), and Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36). Caregivers completed five open ended questions to describe their caregiving experience and provide recommendations to healthcare professionals. Results: Of the 114 caregivers, 80 were current primary caregivers and 105 were female participants. A multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the association between caregiver burden, SES, psychological health, and physical health. Caregiver burden and SES was associated with a decline in psychological and physical health. Financial burden was present at low and high self-reported incomes and had a moderating effect on burden and psychological health. SES did not have a moderating effect on caregiver burden and physical health. Discussion: The results of this investigation provide evidence that perceived burden and financial burden may be significant contributors to the experienced decline in psychological and physical health. Cancer caregivers who experience depressive symptoms are more likely to experience burdened caregiving and financial concerns. Five recommendations are provided to help improve the cancer caregiving experience by healthcare professionals.


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