Trajectories of caregiver burden and related factors in family caregivers of patients with lung cancer

Psychooncology. 2018 Jun;27(6):1493-1500. doi: 10.1002/pon.4678. Epub 2018 Mar 30.


Objective: This study aimed to (1) identify the changes of 5 domains of family caregiver (FC) burden, overall burden, and its subtrajectories when caring for newly diagnosed advanced lung cancer patients during the first 6 months following cancer diagnosis; and (2) identify the FC-related and patient-related factors most associated with the overall FC burden and each of its subtrajectories.

Methods: A total of 150 newly diagnosed advanced lung cancer patient-FC dyads were recruited from a Taiwanese medical center. The overall FC burden was evaluated 4 times: before treatment, and 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment. The potential subtrajectory of the caregiver burden was investigated by latent class growth analysis. The FC-related and patient-related factors having the greatest effect on the overall FC burden and its subtrajectories over time were identified by generalized estimating equations.

Results: The highest level of burden domain was "Impact on daily schedule" over time. Generally, most of the FC reported a moderate level of overall burden over the investigation period. Three subtrajectories of the overall FC burden over time (% caregivers) were identified: high burden (34.7%), moderate burden (56.0%), and low burden (9.3%), respectively. The self-efficacy of FC was the strongest factor related to the changes of the FC's burden and burden in each subtrajectory.

Conclusion: The results support the existing and different types of subtrajectories of the FC's burden. Health care professionals should provide care based on those differences. Further research to test interventions which integrate those important factors related to FC's burden, particularly FC's self-efficacy, is strongly suggested.

Keywords: cancer; caregiver burden; family caregiver; lung cancer; oncology; self-efficacy; trajectories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Taiwan
  • Terminal Care / psychology*