Sense of coherence and distress in cancer patients and their partners.
ABSTRACT Strong sense of coherence (SOC) is assumed to promote and protect health in stressful situations, such as a serious illness. There is, however, surprisingly little research-based discussion on the SOC-distress association in cancer patients and especially in their partners. The aim of this study was to clarify these issues. The associations between SOC, depression, and anxiety were studied in 123 cancer couples. Data were collected with self-report questionnaires at the time of diagnosis, 8 and 14 months later. The predictors of follow-up distress and possible mediators of the cross-lagged longitudinal data were analysed with SEM. No gender differences in the patients' study variables were found, but the female partners displayed more distress symptoms than their male counterparts. The results supported the SOC theory. Strong SOC alleviated the development of distress. In addition, patient SOC tended to strengthen during the follow-up. No direct crossover between baseline SOC and follow-up distress was found. However, all patient and partner variables at the 14-month follow-up were related to each other, but not at baseline. This could indicate a gradual crossover process of the shared experience. Special attention in clinical practice should be given to the psychological well-being of cancer patients' partners, especially female partners.
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ABSTRACT: The spouse is generally the primary informal caregiver for cancer patients. Many studies have explored the experience of caregiving for cancer patients, but it is unclear whether there are gender differences in the spousal caring experience for cancer patients. This review describes the recent published research on the stress process of spousal caregiving experience for cancer patients, and aims to identify any gender differences in the caregiving experience. Electronic, manual and author's searches were conducted. Articles included were published in English and Chinese, from January 2000 to March 2012. Study population is couples coping with cancer. Focus is on caregiving experience for spouse with cancer, and findings include both male and female spousal caregivers in quantitative studies. The databases searched included MEDLINE, CINAHL, Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, PsycINFO and the China Academic Journal Full-text Database. The key search terms used were 'cancer' or 'oncology' or 'carcinoma' AND 'caregiver' or 'caregiving' or 'carer' AND 'gender differences' or 'gender' AND 'spouse' or 'couple' or 'partner'. Spousal caregiving experiences of cancer patients were explored by adopting the 'stress process' of the Cancer Family Caregiving Experience Model from the gender perspective. Twenty-five articles were identified and included in this review. It was revealed that female spousal caregivers perceived higher level negative experience in caregiving, such as lower mental health, lower physical health, poorer health-related quality of life, lower life satisfaction and decreased marital satisfaction than male spousal caregivers. However, female spousal caregivers are more likely to experience personal growth than male spousal caregivers. This review identified that female spousal caregivers for cancer patients had higher levels of negative experience in caregiving. A better understanding of the spousal caregiving experience will provide healthcare professionals with the information needed to develop interventions to support and prepare spousal caregivers to care for their loved ones with cancer.International Nursing Review 06/2013; 60(2):178-87. · 0.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To explore the spectrum of hidden morbidities and gender differences in the spousal caregiving experience with regard to cancer patients across the cancer trajectory, and to discuss directions for future research and the implications for interventions to improve the caregiving experience. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted to identity articles published in English or Chinese from January 2000 to July 2012. Studies were located using an electronic search, a manual search, and an author search. RESULTS: A total of 19 articles were identified and included in this review. This review of the literature revealed that female spousal caregivers, in general, experienced more mental morbidity (higher levels of distress, depression, and anxiety, lower levels of mental health), physical morbidity (lower physical health scores, poorer physical functioning, and loss of physical strength), and social morbidity (lower marital satisfaction and less social support) than male spousal caregivers. CONCLUSIONS: This review of the literature revealed that spousal caregivers, particularly female spousal caregivers for cancer patients, are at a high risk of falling victim to a wide spectrum of hidden morbidities due to their caregiving experience. The cultural influences on the couples and their patterns of communication that influence the caregiving experience for cancer patients should be further explored. A tailored-made intervention for spousal caregivers, both males and females, in the context of cancer care should be developed to cater to the needs of this population, which suffers from a spectrum of hidden morbidities.European journal of oncology nursing: the official journal of European Oncology Nursing Society 03/2013; · 1.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Data from an empirical study about cancer patients' perception of good caring are analysed in the light of Antonovsky's theory. The aim was to reflect on whether and how health personnel by giving good care, can function as vital resources at cancer patients disposal in activating their General Resistance Resources (GRRs) in a stressful life situation, and by that contribute to promotion and maintenance of their sense of coherence. A hermeneutical approach was chosen for analysing the data. The informants were cancer patients in an oncology ward in a regional hospital in Norway. Twenty patients were interviewed, ten women and ten men. The patients had various cancer diagnoses at different stages and had different prognoses. The findings indicate that most of the patients succeeded in activating their GRRs in dealing with the stressor. Nurses, doctors, family and friends can be seen to function as vital resources at their disposal when needed. Most likely good caring supported the patient's promotion and maintenance of the components of meaningfulness, comprehensibility and manageability which form the concept sense of coherence (SOC). Health personnel can support the patients' meaningfulness by listening to the patients' stories about what still gives them meaning in life and their comprehensibility by giving good information. Alleviation of physical suffering may promote and maintain their manageability. Because all three components are intertwined, it is important to focus on all of them when caring for cancer patients.European journal of oncology nursing: the official journal of European Oncology Nursing Society 09/2013; · 1.13 Impact Factor