[Family Surrogates' Decision Regret and Psychological Stress about End-of-Life Cancer Treatments: Path Analysis]

J Korean Acad Nurs. 2018 Oct;48(5):578-587. doi: 10.4040/jkan.2018.48.5.578.
[Article in Korean]


Purpose: This study aimed to understand the mechanisms of decision regret and stress of family surrogates' end-of-life decision making using an exploratory path model. In particular, the research identified the direct effects of perceptions of uncertainty and effective decisions on decision regret and stress, and examined the indirect effects of being informed, having clear values, and being supported for decision regret and the stress of end-of-life decision making through the mediating variables of perceptions of uncertainty and effective decisions.

Methods: Data were collected from 102 family surrogates who had participated in end-of-life decision making for patients with terminal cancer in a tertiary hospital.

Results: Perception of effective decisions was a significant direct predictor of decision regret, and uncertainty was a significant predictor of stress among the participants. Being informed, having clear values, and being supported had a significant indirect influence on decision regret through the perception of effective decisions among family surrogates. However, only having clear values had a significant indirect influence on stress through the perception of uncertainty. The model explained 63.0% of decision regret and 20.0% of stress among the participants and showed a good fit with the data, χ²=12.40 (df=8, p=.134), TLI=.97, and RMSEA=.07.

Conclusion: Nurses can support family surrogates in end-oflife decision-making processes to decrease their decision regret by providing information about end-of-life care choices, clarifying personal values, and supporting the decision-making process, and to relieve their stress by facilitating the clarification of personal values.

Keywords: Decision Making; Family; Neoplasms; Terminal Care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Decision Making*
  • Emotions*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Terminal Care