JOURNAL ARTICLE

Distressed partners and caregivers do not recover easily: adjustment trajectories among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors

Sylvie D Lambert, Bobby L Jones, Afaf Girgis, Christophe Lecathelinais
Annals of Behavioral Medicine: a Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012, 44 (2): 225-35
22740365

BACKGROUND: Although a number of cross-sectional studies document the distress experienced by partners and caregivers of cancer survivors, few have considered their potential differential patterns of adjustment over time.

PURPOSE: Identify distinct trajectories of anxiety and depression among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors and predictors of these trajectories.

METHODS: Participants completed a survey to examine the impact of caring for, or living with, a cancer survivor at 6, 12, and 24 months post-survivor diagnosis. Anxiety and depression were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (N(anxiety) = 510; N(depression) = 511).

RESULTS: Anxiety trajectories included: no anxiety (15.1% scored <3; 37.8% scored 3-5); chronic, borderline anxiety (33.2%); and chronic, clinical anxiety (13.9%). The depression trajectories were: no depression (38.9% scored <2; 31.5% scored around 3); a sustained score of 7 (25.5%); and chronic, clinical depression (4.1%). Variables associated with the trajectories included most of the psychosocial variables.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight that most caregivers maintained their baseline level of distress, which is particularly concerning for participants reporting chronic anxiety or depression.

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