Factors associated with positive consequences of serving as a family caregiver for a terminal cancer patient

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We examined factors associated with positive consequences for family members who served as caregivers of terminal cancer patients.


We conducted a nationwide cross-sectional survey of 501 bereaved family members who served as caregivers for terminal cancer patientsSymbolThe main outcomes were measured by the previously developed Caregiving Consequences Inventory, which assesses perceived rewards and burdens of caregiving.


Bereaved family caregivers reported high levels of perceived rewards and burden. Among the characteristics of bereaved family members, older age, female gender, and having a religion were associated with some domains of perceived rewards, but being a spouse of a patient was negatively associated with some domains of perceived rewards. Caregiver depression or perceived burden did not affect positive consequences of caregiving. However, receiving bereavement care was significantly associated with positive outcome in all four perceived reward domains (sense of mastery [adjusted odds ratio {aOR} = 1.69; 95% CI, 1.05–2.70]; appreciation for others [aOR = 2.19; 95% CI, 1.27−3.76]; meaning in life [aOR = 1.80; 95% CI, 1.13–2.89]; and reprioritization about his/her life [aOR = 2.02; 95% CI, 1.27–3.19]).


Family caregivers of terminal cancer patients experience burdens, but caregiving also has positive consequences. This study has important implications for the development of bereavement interventions that aim to encourage positive outcomes and reduce negative outcomes for caregivers.


Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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