Psychological morbidity in the families of patients with cancer

David W. Kissane, Sidney Bloch, W. Ivon Burns, Dean McKenzie, Maria Posterino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


An empirical study of 102 families of palliative care patients was undertaken to identify the prevalence of psychological morbidity in family members. Beck Depression Inventory‐derived caseness was identified in one‐half of patients, one‐third of spouses and one‐quarter of offspring, suggesting that psychological distress reverberates substantially throughout the nuclear family. Anger was significantly more common in the offspring, who perceived their families to have poorer communication, cohesion and more conflict than their parents, suggesting that information about the illness may not be adequately transmitted to them. The family as a group is the most appropriate recipient of care, and family meetings are advocated to promote communication, support and mutual understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

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