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Depressive symptoms are common in bereaved caregivers; however, there have been few prospective studies using a structured interview. This study investigated the prevalence and preloss predictors of major depressive disorder (MDD) in bereaved caregivers of patients in a palliative care unit.
This prospective cohort study collected caregiver sociodemographic and psychological data before the death of a palliative care unit patient, including MDD, care-burden, coping style, and hopeful attitude. Postloss MDD was assessed 6 and 13 months after death, and a multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify its predictors.
Of 305 caregivers contacted, 92 participated in this study. The prevalence of preloss MDD was 21.8%; the prevalences of postloss MDD were 34.8% and 24.7% at 6 and 13 months, respectively. Preloss MDD predicted postloss MDD at 6 months (odds ratio [OR] = 5.38, 95% confidence interval [CI95%] = 1.29, 22.43); preloss nonhopeful attitude and unemployment status of caregivers predicted postloss MDD at 13 months (OR = 8.77, CI95% = 1.87, 41.13 and OR = 7.10, CI95% = 1.28, 39.36, respectively).
Significance of results
Approximately 35% of caregivers suffered from MDD at 6 months postloss, but the prevalence of MDD decreased to about 25% at 13 months. Preloss MDD significantly predicted postloss MDD at 6 months, whereas hopeful attitude and unemployment at baseline were significantly associated with postloss MDD at 13 months.
To determine the influence of caregiver personality and other factors on the burden of family caregivers of terminally ill cancer patients.
We investigated a wide range of factors related to the patient–family caregiver dyad in a palliative care setting using a cross-sectional design. Caregiver burden was assessed using the seven-item short version of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI–7). Caregiver personality was assessed using the 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI–10), which measures the following five personality dimensions: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Patient- and caregiver-related sociodemographic and psychological factors were included in the analysis because of their potential association with caregiver burden. Clinical patient data were obtained from medical charts or by using other measures. Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to identify the independent factors associated with caregiver burden.
We analyzed 227 patient–family caregiver dyads. The multivariate analysis revealed that caregiver extroversion was protective against caregiver burden, whereas depressive symptoms in caregivers were related to increased burden. Neuroticism was positively correlated with caregiver burden, but this relationship was nonsignificant following adjustment for depressive symptoms. Patient-related factors were not significantly associated with caregiver burden.
Significance of Results:
Evaluating caregiver personality traits could facilitate identification of individuals at greater risk of high burden. Furthermore, depression screening and treatment programs for caregivers in palliative care settings are required to decrease caregiver burden.
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