Exploring Family caregivers’ Burden, Depression and Anxiety of Inpatients with Cancer

Introduction: Burden of family caregivers who provide care to cancer patients significantly affects the physical, emotional, social and economic dimensions of their daily living and is a predictive indicator of anxiety and depression. Purpose: The investigation of burden, depression, and anxiety of informal caregivers of cancer inpatients, as well as the factors that affect these variables. Material and Method: We used a convenience sample of 90 pairs of adult patients-caregivers from three totally oncology departments in two hospitals of Southern Greece. The questionnaire distributed to patients and caregivers included clinical and demographic data. Caregivers were also assessed for burden (BCOS), anxiety and depression (HADS). Results: The majority of patients and caregivers were aged 50-74. Most patients were men (52.2%), while most caregivers were women (67.8%) and spouses (44.3%). The mean value of the burden scale was 56.7±10.9, of the anxiety subscale 11.0±4.3 and of the depression subscale 7.3±4.6. Moderate negative correlations appeared between burden and anxiety (r=–0.401, p<0.001) and depression (r=–0.402, p<0.001). There was a significant correlation between burden, depression and the caregivers’ age (p=0.008 and p<0.001 respectively), while depression was also correlated with the duration of care (p=0.013). Finally, the caregivers’ and patients’ higher educational level was correlated with lower depression levels (p=0.007 and p=0.019, respectively). Conclusions: Burden, anxiety, and depression co-exist to a large extent. The older age of caregivers and the duration of care were associated with higher burden and/or higher levels of depression, while the educational level of patients and caregivers seems to alleviate the negative effects of care.