Gender differences in health status and benefits of a one-week educational programme for caregivers of cancer patients

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2019 Mar;28(2):e12992. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12992. Epub 2019 Jan 16.


Objective: The aims of this study were to investigate differences between female and male caregivers' health status before and 3 months after a one-week educational programme, self-reported needs for support and changes in health status over time.

Methods: Caregivers were partners of cancer patients aged ≥18 years who participated in the programme. Questionnaires were completed at baseline and 3 months after the programme.

Results: At baseline, 167 caregivers completed the questionnaire, 55% were females and the mean age 60.2 years (range 31-79). Female caregivers reported poorer vitality (p = 0.016) and more chronic fatigue compared to male caregivers (28% vs. 13%, p = 0.036). Females more frequently reported need for support: psychological counselling (21% vs. 3%, p = 0.001), group conversations (51% vs. 28%, p = 0.003), nutritional counselling (39% vs. 17%, p = 0.002) and recreational stay (46% vs. 24%, p = 0.004). Significant benefits within-group changes were observed among female caregivers in role physical, general health, vitality, social functioning, mental and total fatigue, whereas no significant within-group changes were observed for males. However, in adjusted analyses no significantly between-group gender differences in mean changes were observed.

Conclusion: More studies are needed to better understand the differences and possible effects of programmes among female and male caregivers in order to develop relevant support.

Keywords: cancer; caregivers; educational programmes; gender differences.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caregivers / education*
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Family Relations
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Workplace