A comparison of psychological well-being and quality of life between spouse and non-spouse caregivers in patients with head and neck cancer: A 6-month follow-up study

Yu Lee, Pao Yen Lin, Chih Yen Chien, Fu Min Fang, Liang Jen Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The caregivers of patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) may suffer from impaired psychological well-being and a decreased quality of life (QOL) related to the chronic burden of caring for patients’ physical conditions and their mood changes. In this study, we aimed to compare the psychological well-being and QOL between spouse caregivers and non-spouse caregivers of patients with HNC over a 6-month follow-up period. Patients and methods: This study was conducted using a prospective design with consecutive sampling. We recruited study subjects from the outpatient combined treatment clinic of HNC at a medical center in Southern Taiwan. The Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition was carried out by a trained senior psychiatrist to diagnose caregivers. Furthermore, one research assistant collected the caregivers’ demographic characteristics, clinical data, and clinical rating scales, including the Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Family Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration index at the patients’ pretreatment, as well as their 3-and 6-month follow-up appointments. Results: Of the 143 subjects that successfully completed the study, two-thirds of caregivers were spouses. During the 6-month follow-up period, spouse caregivers demonstrated significantly higher rates of depression diagnosis (p=0.032), higher scores in the depression subscale of HADS (HADS-D) (p=0.010), and lower SF-36 mental component summary (MCS) scores (p=0.007) than non-spouse caregivers. Furthermore, during those 6 months, HADS-D (p=0.007) and the anxiety subscale of HADS scores (p,0.001) significantly decreased, while SF-36 MCS scores significantly increased (p=0.015). Conclusion: The mental health of spouse caregivers of HNC patients was more severely affected than that of non-spouse caregivers during the observed 6-month follow-up period. Therefore, clinicians need to pay more attention to caregivers’ psychological distress during patient care, especially for spouse caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1697-1704
Number of pages8
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Volume14
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 06 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Lee et al.

Keywords

  • Follow-up study
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Psychological well-being
  • Quality of life
  • Spouse caregiver

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