Resilience, preparedness, and distress among family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer

Abstract

Objective Resilience has been proposed as a primary factor in how many family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer are able to resist psychological strain and perform effectively in the role while bearing a high load of caregiving tasks. To evaluate this hypothesis, we examined whether self-perceived resilience is associated with distress (anxiety and depressive symptoms), caregiver preparedness, and readiness for surrogate decision-making among a racially diverse sample of family caregivers of patients with newly diagnosed advanced cancer. Methods Secondary analysis of baseline data from two small-scale, pilot clinical trials that both recruited family caregivers of patients with newly diagnosed advanced cancer. Using multivariable linear regression, we analyzed relationships of resilience as a predictor of mood, caregiving preparedness, and readiness for surrogate decision-making, controlling for sociodemographics. Results Caregiver participants (N = 112) were mean 56 years of age and mostly female (76%), the patient's spouse/partner (52%), and White (56%) or African-American/Black (43%). After controlling for demographics, standardized results indicated that higher resilience was relevantly associated with higher caregiver preparedness (beta = .46, p < .001), higher readiness for surrogate decision-making (beta = .20, p < .05) and lower anxiety (beta = - .19, p < .05), and depressive symptoms (beta = - .20, p < .05). Conclusions These results suggest that resilience may be critical to caregivers' abilities to manage stress, be effective sources of support to patients, and feel ready to make future medical decisions on behalf of patients. Future work should explore and clinicians should consider whether resilience can be enhanced in cancer caregivers to optimize their well-being and ability to perform in the caregiving and surrogate decision-making roles.

Description
Keywords
Family caregiving, Cancer, Resilience, Decision-making, Distress, CONNOR-DAVIDSON RESILIENCE, PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS, DECISION-MAKING, FRAMEWORK, SCALE, SURROGATES, APPRAISAL, CHILDREN, PARENTS, HEALTH, Oncology, Health Care Sciences & Services, Rehabilitation
Citation
Dionne-Odom, J. N., Azuero, A., Taylor, R. A., Wells, R. D., Hendricks, B. A., Bechthold, A. C., Reed, R. D., Harrell, E. R., Dosse, C. K., Engler, S., McKie, P., Ejem, D., Bakitas, M. A., & Rosenberg, A. R. (2021). Resilience, preparedness, and distress among family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer. In Supportive Care in Cancer (Vol. 29, Issue 11, pp. 6913–6920). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06265-y