Psychosocial adjustment of family caregivers of head and neck cancer survivors

Support Care Cancer. 2010 Feb;18(2):171-8. doi: 10.1007/s00520-009-0641-3. Epub 2009 Apr 24.


Purpose: This study examined the psychosocial adjustment and needs of family caregivers of head and neck cancer survivors at 6-24 months posttreatment.

Materials and methods: Family caregivers of head and neck cancer survivors (N=89) completed mailed questionnaires that assessed demographic variables, mental health, quality of life, and practical and informational needs.

Results: Thirty-eight percent of caregivers reported moderate to high distress. However, quality of life scores for the entire sample (N=89) were better than the scores reported in initial validation studies on caregivers of patients undergoing active cancer treatment. Greater time spent caregiving was associated with worse psychological well-being, but also more positive adaptation to caregiving. In addition, 39% of caregivers reported that all of their practical and informational needs were being met.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that research and clinical efforts are needed to address the psychosocial concerns of this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aftercare / psychology*
  • Aftercare / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Population Surveillance
  • Quality of Life*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors*