The Prevalence and Risks for Depression and Anxiety in Hospice Caregivers

J Palliat Med. 2017 Apr;20(4):366-371. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2016.0372. Epub 2016 Dec 2.


Background: Depression and anxiety are common concerns for hospice caregivers.

Objective: This study looked at the prevalence and variables associated with hospice caregiver depression and anxiety, as well as the relationship between the two conditions.

Subjects: We did a secondary analysis of preexisting data.

Measurements: Measures included the PHQ-9 and GAD-7.

Results: Nearly one-quarter of caregivers were moderately to severely depressed, and nearly one-third reported moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety. Risk factors for both depression and anxiety included younger age and poorer self-rated global health. Depression-specific risk factors included being married and caring for a patient with a diagnosis other than cancer. The sole anxiety-specific risk factor identified was geographic location, as caregivers living in the Southeast were found to have greater anxiety than those in the Midwest.

Conclusion: Hospice providers' recognition of family caregivers as both coproviders and corecipients of care underscores the need to more fully assess and respond to depression and anxiety among caregivers.

Keywords: anxiety; caregivers; depression; hospice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Hospice Care / organization & administration
  • Hospice Care / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Prevalence
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology