Caring for a spouse with advanced cancer: similarities and differences for male and female caregivers

Dana Ketcher, Ryan Trettevik, Susan T. Vadaparampil, Richard E. Heyman, Lee Ellington, Maija Reblin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Most caregiving literature has focused on women, who have traditionally taken on caregiving roles. However, more research is needed to clarify the mixed evidence regarding the impact of gender on caregiver/patient psychological outcomes, especially in an advanced cancer context. In this paper, we examine gender differences in caregiver stress, burden, anxiety, depression, and coping styles, as well as how caregiver gender impacts patient outcomes in the context of advanced cancer. Eighty-eight patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers completed psychosocial surveys. All couples were heterosexual and most caregivers were women (71.6%). Female caregivers reported significantly higher levels of perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and social strain compared with male caregivers, and female patients of male caregivers were more likely to use social support as a coping style compared with male patients of female caregivers. These findings highlight the potential differences between male and female caregivers’ needs and psychological health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-828
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

Keywords

  • Advanced cancer
  • Caregiving
  • Gender
  • Marriage
  • Spouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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