JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in anxious or depressed family caregivers of patients with cancer: a nationwide survey in Korea

Boyoung Park, So Young Kim, Ji-Yeon Shin, Robert W Sanson-Fisher, Dong Wook Shin, Juhee Cho, Jong Hyock Park
PloS One 2013, 8 (4): e60230
23565204

PURPOSE: To describe the prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in family caregivers (FCs) of patients with cancer and to identify the factors associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in FCs with anxiety or depression.

METHODS: A national, multicenter survey administered to 897 FCs asked questions concerning suicidal ideation and suicide attempts during the previous year and assessed anxiety, depression, socio-demographic factors, caregiving burden, patient factors, and quality of life (QOL).

RESULTS: A total of 17.7% FCs reported suicidal ideation, and 2.8% had attempted suicide during the previous year. Among FCs with anxiety, 31.9% had suicidal ideation and 4.7% attempted suicide; the corresponding values for FCs with depression were 20.4% and 3.3%, respectively. Compared with FCs without anxiety and depression, FCs with anxiety or depression showed a higher adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for suicidal ideation (aOR= 4.07 and 1.93, respectively) and attempts (OR= 3.00 and 2.43, respectively). Among FCs with anxiety or depression, being female, unmarried, unemployed during caregiving, and having a low QOL were associated with increased odds of suicidal ideation. FCs with anxiety who became unemployed during caregiving constituted a high-risk group for suicide. Being unmarried and having a low QOL with respect to financial matters were associated with increased suicide attempts among FCs with depression.

CONCLUSION: FCs with anxiety or depression were at high risk of suicide. Interventions to enhance social support and to improve perceived QOL may help prevent suicide and manage suicidal ideation in FCs with anxiety or depression.

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