Deakin University

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Caregiver and care recipient health literacy, social support and connectedness on caregiver psychological morbidity: A cross-sectional dyad survey

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-28, 05:33 authored by Eva YuenEva Yuen, C Wilson, Trish LivingstonTrish Livingston, Vicki WhiteVicki White, V McLeod, PH Dufton, Alison HutchinsonAlison Hutchinson
Background: Caregivers play an important role supporting people diagnosed with cancer, yet report significant unmet information and support needs that impact on their psychological wellbeing. Health literacy and social connectedness are key factors that influence wellbeing, yet few studies have examined their relative role in psychological wellbeing of carers. This study investigated relationships between caregiver and care recipient health literacy, social support, and social connectedness on psychological morbidity in a cancer setting. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 125 caregiver-cancer care recipient dyads. Participants completed the Health Literacy Survey-EU-Q16, Social Connectedness Scale-Revised, the Medical Outcomes Study–Social Support Survey, and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 (DASS21). Relationships between factors were examined using hierarchical multiple regression with care recipient factors entered at Step 1 and caregiver factors at Step 2. Results: Most caregivers provided care for their spouse (69.6%); caregivers mean total DASS21 score was 24.38 (SD = 22.48). Mean DASS21 subscale scores for depression, anxiety, stress in caregivers were 4.02 (SD = 4.07), 2.7 (SD = 3.64), and 5.48 (SD = 4.24) respectively, suggesting normal range of depression and stress, and mild anxiety. Care recipients had a diagnosis of breast (46.4%), gastrointestinal (32.8%), lung (13.6%), or genitourinary (7.2%) cancer, and a mean DASS21 score of 31.95 (SD = 20.99). Mean DASS21 subscale scores for depression, anxiety, stress in care recipients were 5.10 (SD = 4.18), 4.26 (SD = 3.65), and 6.62 (SD = 3.99) respectively, suggesting mild depression and anxiety, and normal stress scores. Regression analyses showed that only caregiver factors (age, illness/disability, health literacy and social connectedness) were independent predictors of caregiver psychological morbidity (F [10,114] = 18.07, p < 0.001). Conclusion(s): Only caregiver, and not care recipient, factors were found to influence caregiver psychological morbidity. While both health literacy and social connectedness influenced caregiver psychological morbidity, perceived social connectedness had the strongest influence. Interventions that ensure caregivers have adequate health literacy skills, as well as understand the value of social connection when providing care, and are supported to develop skills to seek support, have the potential to promote optimal psychological wellbeing in cancer caregivers.












Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal