Effects of patient and personal demographic, clinical and psychosocial characteristics on the burden of family members caring for patients with advanced cancer in Greece

Ourania Govina, Grigorios Kotronoulas, Kyriaki Mystakidou, Stylianos Katsaragakis, Eugenia Vlachou, Elisabeth Patiraki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Caregiving burden affects the lives of family members providing care to patients with advanced cancer, with a host of factors possibly contributing to this. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of patient and caregiver variables on the perceptions of burden in families caring for a loved one living with advanced cancer in Greece. Methods: A convenience sample of 100 pairs of patients receiving palliative radiotherapy for advanced cancer and their respective primary family caregivers were consecutively recruited at one radiotherapy centre. Patients and caregivers completed a set of questionnaires during face-to-face interviews. Correlational and multiple regression analyses were performed to identify potential predictors of caregiving burden. Results: Caregiving burden was linked to both patient (gender, age, past surgery or chemotherapy treatment, depression and impact of cancer-related symptoms) and caregiver variables (gender, family status, education, place of residence, previous experience of care, employment status, difficulty of caregiving, anxiety and depression). In multiple regression analyses, caregiving burden was significantly predicted by caregivers' depressed mood, perceived difficulty of caregiving, family status, employment status, as well as by patients' past surgery, in a model that explained 49% of the total variance. Conclusions: Greek family caregivers reporting greater depressive mood and difficulty with caregiving tasks, those married, those not employed, and those who cared for patients who had not undergone surgery were found at greater distress and disadvantage. Systematic assessment and intervention strategies are required to identify these vulnerable carers and help them cope when sharing in patient's cancer experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • advanced cancer
  • caregiver burden
  • correlates
  • family caregiver
  • radiotherapy

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