Prevalence, Severity, and Impact of Symptoms on Female Family Caregivers of Patients at the Initiation of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

University of California, 2 Koret Way, Box 0610, San Francisco, CA 94143-0610, USA.
Journal of Clinical Oncology (Impact Factor: 18.43). 03/2008; 26(4):599-605. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2007.12.2838
Source: PubMed


In a sample of family caregivers (FCs) of patients with prostate cancer who were to begin radiation therapy (RT), the purposes were to determine the prevalence and severity of depression, anxiety, pain, sleep disturbance, and fatigue; determine the relationships among these symptoms and between these symptoms and functional status and quality of life (QOL); evaluate for differences in functional status and QOL between FCs with low and high levels of these symptoms; and determine which factors predicted FCs' functional status and QOL.
FCs were recruited before patients initiated RT and completed self-report questionnaires that evaluated demographic characteristics, symptoms, functional status, and QOL.
Sixty female FCs participated in the study. On the basis of established cut point scores for each symptom questionnaire, 12.2% of the FCs had clinically meaningful levels of depression, 40.7% anxiety, 15.0% pain, 36.7% sleep disturbance, 33.3% morning fatigue, and 30.0% evening fatigue. FCs who were older and who had lower levels of state anxiety and higher levels of depression, morning fatigue, and pain reported significantly poorer functional status (R(2) = 38.7%). FCs who were younger, had more years of education, were working, and who had higher levels of depression, morning fatigue, sleep disturbance, and lower levels of evening fatigue reported significantly lower QOL scores (R(2) = 70.1%).
A high percentage of FCs experienced clinically meaningful levels of a variety of symptoms. These symptoms have a negative impact on the FCs' functional status and QOL.

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    • "Subscales scores of ≥3 and a total score of ≥43 indicate a significant level of sleep disturbance (Fletcher et al., 2008b). The GSDS has well-established validity and reliability in shift workers, pregnant women, patients with cancer , or HIV, and in FCs (Carney et al., 2011; Fletcher et al., 2008b). In the present study, its Chronbach's alpha was .91. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated levels of symptoms, caregiver burden, and changes over time in 278 family caregivers (FC) of cancer patients. FCs experienced high levels of depressive symptoms and sleep disturbance, low levels of fatigue, and low to moderate levels of caregiver burden, yet these symptoms remained relatively stable over time. Being female and not being employed were factors associated with an increased risk of symptoms and caregiver burden. The understanding evolving from this study can enhance social- and health care professionals' awareness of FCs' challenging situation and the potential impact this has on the FCs' ability to provide care to the patient.
    Social Work in Health Care 03/2014; 53(3):289-309. DOI:10.1080/00981389.2013.873518 · 0.62 Impact Factor
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    • "Researchers have developed the UCSF-SMM to describe “symptom experience” and “outcomes” as two interrelated dimensions [22, 23]. “Symptom experience” has been conceptualized as symptom intensity and symptom distress in previous research [24, 25], while “symptom experience” has also been studied as a single symptom [25–27] or as multiple symptoms [24, 28–30]. “Outcomes” that have been found to be related to “symptom experience” in studies include functional status [28] and quality of life [24, 26, 27], which can be influenced by each other [22]. "
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    12/2013; 2013(7, part 1):601768. DOI:10.1155/2013/601768
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    • "The total GSDS score can range from 0 (no disturbance) to 147 (extreme sleep disturbance). A total GSDS score of !43 indicates a clinically meaningful level of sleep disturbance (Fletcher et al., 2008; Lee, 1992). Cronbach's alpha for the GSDS total score was 0.86. "
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