Background: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of back massage on the anxiety state, cortisol level, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and sleep quality in family caregivers of patients with cancer.
Materials and methods: Forty-four family caregivers were randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group (22 interventions, 22 controls) after they were matched on age and gender. The intervention consisted of back massage for 15 minutes per day for a week. Main research outcomes were measured at baseline (day I) and follow-up (day 7). Unpaired t-test, paired t test and chi-square test were used to analyse data.
Results: The majority of the caregivers were women, married, secondary school educated and housewife. State anxiety (p<0.001), cortisol level (p<0.05), systolic/diastolic blood pressure (p<0.001, p<0.01 respectively), and pulse rate (p<0.01) were significantly decreased, and sleep quality (p<0.001) increased after back massage intervention.
Conclusions: The study results show that family caregivers for patients with cancer can benefit from back massage to improve state anxiety, cortisol level, blood pressure and heart rate, and sleep quality. Oncology nurses can take advantage of back massage, which is non-pharmacologic and easily implemented method, as an independent nursing action to support caregivers for patients with cancer.