Predictors of mood disorders in cancer patients' caregivers

Eva Mazzotti, Claudia Sebastiani, Gian Carlo Antonini Cappellini, Paolo Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Patients' care has been associated with a high burden of psychological symptoms in caregivers. This study identifies characteristics associated with mood disorders in caregivers of cancer patients. Methods: One hundred fifty-two caregivers, aged 24-78 years (average age 51; 60 % females), of cancer patients completed Family Strain Questionnaire (FSQ), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Impact of Event Scale (IES), and Coping Orientations to the Problems Experienced. We combined this information with patient chart abstraction data. Results: Sixty-three percent of females and 38 % of males were scored as positive when screened for mood disorders, as measured by HADS (total score ≥16), and 17 and 5 % for emotional distress as measured by IES (total score ≥50). High scores in FSQ-satisfaction with family relationships and FSQ-need for more information about cancer, and low scores in FSQ-thoughts about death are reported. FSQ-emotional burden and FSQ-problems in social involvement are the areas more compromised in females, compared to males. Females, compared to males, use emotional-oriented coping strategies more frequently. Factors independently associated with mood disorders included emotional burden, problems in social involvement, and non-attendance of meeting places; help and assistance from public local services (for patients) decreased the risk of mood disorders in caregivers. Conclusions: Prevalence of mood disorders is high in cancer patients' caregivers. These results highlight the need to develop family intervention strategies to minimize the impact of patient's care on caregivers' mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-647
Number of pages5
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Cancer
  • Caregiver
  • Coping and adaptation
  • Families' burden
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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