The relationship between self-efficacy and anxiety and general distress in caregivers of people with advanced cancer

J Palliat Med. 2014 Aug;17(8):939-41. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2013.0338. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Background: Informal caregivers take on an important role in supporting people with advanced cancer but experience significant psychological distress.

Objective: This study aims to describe the prevalence of anxiety and distress in a sample of caregivers of people with advanced cancer and explore the relationship with self-efficacy.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was used. Subjects were 94 caregivers of people with advanced cancer recruited from a specialist oncology setting. Questionnaires included the Caregiver Self-Efficacy Scale (CaSES), the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and the Distress Thermometer. Demographic data were recorded.

Results: The sample consisted of 94 caregivers of people with advanced cancer. The majority were female (66; 70.2%) with a mean age of 55 years. The mean distress score for the sample was 4.87 (standard deviation [SD] 2.49). Fifty-five caregivers (59.1%) had a score of ≥5 on the Distress Thermometer indicating distress. The state anxiety mean was 45.21 (SD 12.32) and trait anxiety mean was 41.21 (SD 10.143). Females had more distress and state anxiety than males. Only one self-efficacy scale, self-maintenance, correlated with distress. All STAI scores correlated with self-efficacy and self-maintenance had the strongest relationship.

Conclusions: Caregivers had high anxiety and distress. Caregivers with higher anxiety reported lower self-efficacy. The strongest correlation was with the self-maintenance subscale, indicating an association with psychological functioning and caregivers who are able to access respite and take care of themselves during care provision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires