Family Relationships and Psychosocial Dysfunction Among Family Caregivers of Patients With Advanced Cancer.
Caring for a family member with advanced cancer strains family caregivers. Classification of family types has been shown to identify patients at risk of poor psychosocial function. However, little is known about how family relationships affect caregiver psychosocial function.
To investigate family types identified by a cluster analysis and to examine the reproducibility of cluster analyses. We also sought to examine the relationship between family types and caregivers' psychosocial function.
Data from 622 caregivers of advanced cancer patients (part of the Coping with Cancer Study) were analyzed using Gaussian Mixture Modeling as the primary method to identify family types based on the Family Relationship Index questionnaire. We then examined the relationship between family type and caregiver quality of life (Medical Outcome Survey Short Form), social support (Interpersonal Support Evaluation List), and perceived caregiver burden (Caregiving Burden Scale).
Three family types emerged: low-expressive, detached, and supportive. Analyses of variance with post hoc comparisons showed that caregivers of detached and low-expressive family types experienced lower levels of quality of life and perceived social support in comparison to supportive family types.
The study identified supportive, low-expressive, and detached family types among caregivers of advanced cancer patients. The supportive family type was associated with the best outcomes and detached with the worst. These findings indicate that family function is related to psychosocial function of caregivers of advanced cancer patients. Therefore, paying attention to family support and family members' ability to share feelings and manage conflicts may serve as an important tool to improve psychosocial function in families affected by cancer.
Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. All rights reserved.
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