Benefit Finding in the Cancer Caregiving Experience

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Abstract

Objective:

To characterize the domains of benefit finding in caregiving among close family members of cancer survivors and to relate the domains of benefit finding in cancer caregiving to other psychosocial variables. Although cancer is a problem that involves the entire family, little is known about which caregivers of cancer survivors are likely to find meaning in their caregiving experience or about the relationship of benefit finding to caregivers’ psychological adjustment.

Methods:

A total of 896 family caregivers participated in the American Cancer Society Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers. Participating caregivers were primarily middle-aged (mean age = 54 years), educated (76% received >high school degree), and affluent (69% earned ≥$40,000 annual household income).

Results:

Six domains of benefit finding in caregiving were identified by principal axis factor analysis: acceptance, empathy, appreciation, family, positive self-view, and reprioritization. The comparison between six- and one-domain models of benefit finding demonstrated the superiority of the six-domain model. A series of hierarchical regression analyses showed that the domains of benefit finding were uniquely associated with life satisfaction and depression and that not all aspects of benefit finding in caregiving related to better adjustment. Specifically, coming to accept what happened and appreciating new relationships with others related to greater adaptation. Becoming more empathetic toward others and reprioritizing values related to greater symptoms of depression.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that caregivers may benefit from interventions that enhance their ability to accept their situation and find meaning in their caregiving experience, which may improve their satisfaction with life and reduce their depressive symptoms.

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