Depression is common among chronically ill patients and their relatives. In this article, we investigated the prevalence of depression among relatives of cancer patients in Jordan, and studied the relation between several socio-demographic, disease- and treatment-related factors, together with the occurrence of depression among those relatives.
A cross-sectional survey study was conducted at a major university hospital in Jordan. Relatives of cancer patients were interviewed for socio-demographic information, and medical records were checked for information about disease and treatment of patient. Psychological status of the relative was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale (HADS).
The prevalence of depression in our sample was 81.9%. Age and degree of relatedness were significantly correlated with the occurrence of depression among relatives of cancer patients. Significant correlations were also detected between depression among patient's relatives and the stage of the disease. Positive predictive factors for depression included relatives being middle aged, close relatedness, patients being in advanced disease stage, and on chemotherapy or undergoing surgery for cancer treatment.
Depression is prevalent among relatives of cancer patients. Therefore, more attention is needed to detect changes in the psychological state of vulnerable relatives of cancer patients, in an effort to reduce the occurrence of depression.