Racial and ethnic disparities in cancer caregiver burden and potential sociocultural mediators

Support Care Cancer. 2022 Nov;30(11):9625-9633. doi: 10.1007/s00520-022-07367-x. Epub 2022 Oct 3.


Purpose: Black and Hispanic cancer patients experience many worse care quality and health outcomes than non-Hispanic White patients, yet less is known about disparities in caregiving responsibilities and burden among cancer caregivers.

Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data from Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance consortium, a large multi-regional, population-based study of colorectal and lung cancer patients and their caregivers. Bivariate and multivariable regression models assessed differences by racial and ethnic groups in caregiving responsibilities and social/emotional, financial, and health burdens. Structural equation models estimated whether sociocultural resources (social support, caregiving preparedness, caregiver-patient communication) mediated racial and ethnic differences in caregiver burden.

Results: Compared with non-Hispanic White caregivers (N = 1,169), Black (N = 220) and Hispanic (N = 84) caregivers spent more time caregiving (18 vs. 26 vs. 26 h/week; P < 0.001), completed more tasks (6.8 vs. 7.6 vs. 8.7; P < 0.05), and reported greater financial burden (P = 0.02). Yet, compared to non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanic caregivers reported similar social/emotional and health burdens, while Black caregivers reported lower levels (P < 0.01). In adjusted models, disparities in financial burden disappeared, and Hispanic caregivers had less health burden than non-Hispanic White caregivers (P = 0.01). Social support and/or caregiving preparedness partially mediated the Black-White gap for all three types of burdens.

Conclusions: Black and Hispanic cancer caregivers perform more caregiving and report greater financial burden than non-Hispanic White caregivers, but experience lower or equivalent social/emotional and health burdens. Racial differences in caregivers' social support and caregiving preparedness levels partially explain Black-White burden differences. Research and policy should address Black and Hispanic caregivers' increased financial burden.

Keywords: Caregiving; Caregiving burden; Caregiving preparedness; Racial and ethnic disparities; Social support.

MeSH terms

  • Caregiver Burden
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Racial Groups