Trajectories of mental and physical functioning among spouse caregivers of cancer survivors over the first five years following the diagnosis

Sylvie D Lambert, Afaf Girgis, Joseph Descallar, Janelle V. Levesque, Bobby Jones

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11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective Identify the trajectories of physical and mental functioning among spouse caregivers of patients with cancer over the first five years post-diagnosis and variables associated with low or deteriorating functioning. Methods Caregivers completed a survey at 6 months and 1, 2, 3.5, and 5 years post-patient diagnosis, including the SF-12 for quality of life (QOL). SF-12 Mental Component Summary (MCS, n = 299) and Physical Component Summary (PCS, n = 300) scores were analyzed using SAS. Results Five trajectories for PCS were identified, the top three were: (a) high PCS (53.0%); (b) steady decline in PCS (17.0%); and (c) steady increase, but remaining below population norm (16.7%). Five trajectories for MCS were also identified, the top two being: (a) high MCS (45.8%) and (b) MCS comparable to population norm (27.8%). Variables associated with low or deteriorating QOL included depression, social support, coping, burden, and/or unmet needs. Conclusions This is the first study to document spouse caregivers’ QOL over the first five years post-patient diagnosis. Although many participants experienced high functioning, almost a third reported low or deteriorating mental or physical functioning. Practice implications Variables associated with low or deteriorating mental and physical functioning can be targeted in future interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1221
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume100
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Mental functioning
  • Physical health
  • Psychosocial oncology
  • Quality of life
  • Spouses

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