Spiritual well-being associated with personality traits and quality of life in family caregivers of cancer patients

Anna Vespa, Roberta Spatuzzi, Fabiana Merico, Marica Ottaviani, Paolo Fabbietti, Cristina Meloni, Letizia Raucci, Marcello Ricciuti, Domenico Bilancia, Giuseppe Pelliccioni, Maria Velia Giulietti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study focuses on the spiritual well-being (SWB) of the family caregivers of cancer patients, examining the relationship with personality traits and quality of life (QoL) in palliative and curative care settings. Methods: All participants (n = 199) underwent the following self-report questionnaires: the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB)-Form A, the SWB Index, and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36). SWB scores were dichotomized at a cutoff corresponding to the 75th percentile. Statistical analysis: Student’s t test or by χ squared tests to compare high and low SWB and multivariate linear regression to estimate relations between SWB, SASB clusters (Cl), and QoL dimensions. Results: Caregivers with high SWB reported significantly better scores than low SWB caregivers in the following SF-36 subscales: bodily pain (p = 0.035), vitality (p < 0.001), social activities (p < 0.001), mental health subscales (p < 0.001), and standardized mental component (p < 0.001) in the SASB Cl2 (p < 0.005), SASB Cl7 (p = 0.007), and SASB Cl8 (p < 0.001). Multivariate linear regression was performed with vitality, standardized mental component, SASB Cl2, SASB Cl7, and SASB Cl8. Greater SWB is associated with greater vitality (p < 0.001), mental standardized component (p < 0.001), and SASB Cl2 (p < 0.001), but lower SASB Cl7 (p < 0.05) and SASB Cl8 (p < 0.05); palliative care is associated with greater SASB Cl8 (p < 0.05) and lower standardized mental component compared with the caregivers in active care. Conclusions: This study points out that caregivers who experience low SWB have a poorer QoL and more problematic intrapsychic aspects of personality, such as low self-acceptance of their own emotions, are self-refusing and unable to be in contact with their own feelings. This suggests that spirituality could be a source of strength and a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2633-2640
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Cancer
  • Caregivers
  • Intrapsychic behaviors
  • Personality
  • Quality of life
  • Spiritual well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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