Poster Presentation COSA-IPOS Joint Scientific Meeting 2012

Spiritual wellbeing in caregivers of geriatric cancer survivors: the association of peace, meaning, and faith to psychological morbidity and resilience (#517)

Hayley S Whitford 1 2 , Simeon B. W Jones 2 , Melissa J Bond 2 3
  1. Cancer Council Australia, Sydney, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
  2. School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  3. Psychology Department, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Aims: To assess caregivers’ psychological morbidity/resilience, and predictors of spiritual wellbeing dimensions; peace, meaning, and faith. Methods: Of 100 anticipated respondents, 76 caregivers of geriatric cancer survivors aged ≥ 70 years completed a cross-sectional questionnaire; 72 classified as caring for curative (n = 30) or palliative (n = 42) survivors. Standardised measures of depression, anxiety, stress, coping, subjective burden, mindfulness, quality of life, and spiritual wellbeing were assessed alongside study-specific questions of carer/survivor demographics and health characteristics. Results: Caregivers of curative (compared to palliative) survivors evidenced higher spiritual wellbeing (p = .01, φ = .31), specifically higher peace and faith, and verging on significance, they showed lower subjective burden (p = .07, φ = .23). Univariate correlations r ≥ .30 were included in linear regressions to predict spiritual wellbeing dimensions. Seven variables predicted 64% (adjusted R2) of meaning’s variability (p = .001); individually significant predictors included lower depression (β = -.65), higher QOL (β = .45), and higher stress (β = .45) despite the opposite univariate association between meaning and stress (r = -.31, p = .001). Eight variables predicted 58% of peace’s variability (p = .000); three individually significant predictors included higher QOL (β = .56), lower burden (β = -.37), and caring for a curative survivor (β = -.34). A lower degree of variance (25%) including five variables predicted faith. Conclusions: Spiritual wellbeing and subjective caregiver burden appeared worse for caregivers of palliative geriatric cancer survivors. Caregivers higher in meaning and peace evidenced lower burden, lower depression, higher QOL, but perhaps meaning did not appear to buffer against stress. These and previous findings on survivors suggest when spiritual wellbeing is poor, a significant degree of QOL is threatened throughout the cancer journey, highlighting the recent ‘third-wave’ behavioural therapies that aid in existential concerns are of particular importance.