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.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.