Skip to main content

A Burden to Others: A Common Source of Distress for the Terminally Ill

Buy Article:

$53.17 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Recent research into the desire for death among people with terminal illness has begun to recognize the importance of “feeling oneself a burden to others” as a factor in suicidal behaviour. In this study, 69 patients with advanced cancer underwent semi-structured interviews. The sense of self-perceived burden was found to be a common experience, reported by 39.1% of participants as a minimal or mild concern and by 38% as a moderate to extreme concern. The sense of burden showed a low correlation with physical symptoms ( r ??=??0.02–0.24) and higher correlations with psychological problems ( r ??=??0.35–0.39) and existential issues ( r ??=??0.45–0.49). Comparisons of participants with high or low levels of self-perceived burden showed the importance of this factor for overall quality of life. In summary, self-perceived burden is an important but underestimated dimension of social cognition in the medically ill.

Keywords: anxiety; burden to others; cancer; suicide; depression; dignity; euthanasia; palliative care

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: √Člisabeth Bruy√®re Research Institute, SCO Health Service, Ottawa, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2005

More about this publication?

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Partial Open Access Content
Partial Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more