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Quality of life of family caregivers 5 years after a relative's cancer diagnosis: Follow-up of the national quality of life survey for caregivers

Department of Psychology, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33124-0751, USA.
Psycho-Oncology (Impact Factor: 4.04). 03/2012; 21(3):273-81. DOI: 10.1002/pon.1888
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although cancer has been considered as a chronic disease for those diagnosed, the long-term impact of cancer on the family caregivers' quality of life (QOL) remains unknown. Thus, the current study aimed: (a) to characterize family caregivers of cancer survivors, (b) to describe the multidimensional aspects of QOL of family caregivers of cancer survivors, and (c) to identify demographic and caregiving experience factors that may play significant roles in the caregivers' QOL around 5 years after the relative's initial diagnosis. Methods. A total of 1218 caregivers participated in the 5-year follow-up nationwide QOL Survey for Caregivers. Demographics and caregiving experiences were measured 2 years post-diagnosis of their relative's cancer. Multidimensional aspects of QOL were assessed, including mental and physical health, psychological adjustment, and spirituality at 5 years post-diagnosis.
Three groups of caregivers were identified: former caregivers due to the recipients being in remission, former caregivers whose recipients were deceased, and current caregivers. Current caregivers reported worst levels of QOL. Bereaved caregivers reported lower levels of psychological and spiritual adjustment than former caregivers whose recipients were in remission. In addition, caregivers' age and stress were consistent predictors of QOL across three caregiver groups at 5 years post-diagnosis.
The findings help to increase evidence-based awareness of the long-term impact of cancer on the family caregivers' QOL. Findings also have implications for developing programs, whereby family caregivers in the various phases of caregivership will benefit by improving their QOL.

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