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Burton AM, Sautter JM, Tulsky JA, Lindquist JH, Hays JC, Olsen MK, Zimmerman SI, Steinhauser KE. Burden and well-being among a diverse sample of cancer, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caregivers. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2012 Sep 1; 44(3):410-20.
CONTEXT: Three important causes of death in the U.S. (cancer, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are preceded by long periods of declining health; often, family members provide most care for individuals who are living with serious illnesses and are at risk for impaired well-being. OBJECTIVES: To expand understanding of caregiver burden and psychosocial-spiritual outcomes among understudied groups of caregivers-cancer, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caregivers-by including differences by disease in a diverse population. METHODS: The present study included 139 caregiver/patient dyads. Independent variables included patient diagnosis and function; and caregiver demographics, and social and coping resources. Cross-sectional analyses examined distributions of these independent variables between diagnoses, and logistic regression examined correlates of caregiver burden, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and spiritual well-being. RESULTS: There were significant differences in patient functioning and caregiver demographics and socioeconomic status between diagnosis groups but few differences in caregiver burden or psychosocial-spiritual outcomes by diagnosis. The most robust social resources indicator of caregiver burden was desire for more help from friends and family. Anxious preoccupation coping style was robustly associated with caregiver psychosocial-spiritual outcomes. CONCLUSION: Caregiver resources, not patient diagnosis or illness severity, are the primary correlates associated with caregiver burden. Additionally, caregiver burden is not disease specific to those examined here, but it is rather a relatively universal experience that may be buffered by social resources and successful coping styles.