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. 2016 Jan;48(1):384-92.
doi: 10.4143/crt.2014.280. Epub 2015 Mar 13.

Family Avoidance of Communication About Cancer: A Dyadic Examination

Free PMC article

Family Avoidance of Communication About Cancer: A Dyadic Examination

Dong Wook Shin et al. Cancer Res Treat. .
Free PMC article


Purpose: This study aimed to examine the following questions: to what extent do patients and caregivers perceive their family members to be avoidant of communication regarding patient's cancer, and to what extent do these perceptions interrelate; and how do such perceptions influence their own and each other's communication behaviors, communication outcome, mental health, and quality of life.

Materials and methods: A national survey was performed with 990 patient-caregiver dyads (participation rate, 76.2%). To examine the dyadic interaction, we developed linked patient and family member questionnaires, including the Family Avoidance of Communication about Cancer (FACC) scale.

Results: The mean scores (standard deviations) of patient- and caregiver-perceived FACC were low at 10.9 (15.5) and 15.5 (17.5), respectively (p < 0.001), and concordance was low, a well (Spearman's rho, 0.23). Patient-perceived FACC was associated with lower levels of disclosure and behaviors of holding back communication, as well as lower levels of mental health outcome and quality of life. The same was true for caregivers (all p < 0.05). Patient-perceived FACC was associated with caregiver holding back, caregiver's depression level, and caregiver quality of life (all p < 0.05). Both patient- and caregiver-perceived FACC were independently associated with communication difficulty within the family.

Conclusion: Future research would benefit from the measurement of FACC from both patients and caregivers, and promote family intervention to enhance openness to communication, which would be helpful for improving mental health and quality of life for both patients and caregivers.

Keywords: Avoidance; Caregivers; Communication; Neoplasms; Openness.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest relevant to this article was not reported.

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