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Family caregivers' quality of life: influence of health protective stance and emotional strain

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The goal of this cross-sectional study was to examine whether health protective behaviors and emotional strain is associated with the quality of life of family members who provide care to cancer survivors and to examine some of the factors that might explain this association. The relative influence of these factors on each of the domains of caregiver quality of life (CGQOL) was examined. A total of 203 family caregivers completed self-report questionnaires; only those without missing data on any measure (N = 152) were included in the current analyses. Measures of physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well being were assessed by the 36-item CGQOL tool. Predictor variables included caregiver sociodemographic data (age, income, and gender), care characteristics (cancer stage, duration of care, and time since care), health stance (positive expectancies and physical behavior generally thought to be healthy), and emotional strain (feelings of entrapment, overload, and isolation). Data were analyzed using regression methods. Results demonstrated that health stance and emotional strain are inversely related and that both contribute significantly to overall and separate dimensions of CGQOL. Pinpointing domain-specific effects may suggest ways to more precisely target challenges associated with caregiving and develop effective interventions accordingly.
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Keywords: Cancer; Emotional strain; Family caregivers; Health protective behavior; Quality of life

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2004

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