Determinants of the burden and positivity of family caregivers of terminally ill cancer patients in Korea

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Caregivers may experience positive or negative feelings about their role. The study investigated the determinants of the burden and positivity of family caregivers of Korean terminal cancer patients.


A multicenter cross-sectional survey was conducted with 139 family caregivers. Determinants of caregiver's burden and positivity were assessed by the Caregiver Reaction Assessment Scale and by three questions based on a previous study, respectively. Two separate hierarchical multiple regression models were used.


Each domain of the caregiver's burden and positivity was explained by different factors, with the total explained variance ranging between 14.4–33.6% and 2.6–18.3%, respectively. Caregivers who were unmarried, less educated, and/or had low incomes were more likely to be negatively affected, while those who shared caregiving responsibilities were less prone to negative consequences. Caregivers who were male, religious practitioners, and who perceived a higher burden of schedule disruptions were more likely to have a positive perception of their role, while those who perceived a lack of family support were less likely.


Our results highlight the importance of sharing the caregiving burden with the other family members. Organizing a family meeting can provide an opportunity for other family members to acknowledge the feelings and reactions of the primary caregivers, and can prompt the sharing of caregiving responsibilities. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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