Depressive Symptoms in Caregivers of Hospice Cancer Patients

Debra Parker Oliver, Karla T. Washington, Jacquelyn Benson, Masako Mayhara, Kyle Pitzer, Patrick White, George Demiris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Family members and close friends provide countless hours of care for patients enrolled in hospice care. They do so without pay, often sacrificing their own financial well-being and health in the process. This study asks 4 research questions: (1) What is the prevalence and severity of depressive symptoms among caregivers of hospice cancer patients? (2) What demographic and contextual factors (such as relationship with patient) are related to the severity of depressive symptoms among caregivers of hospice cancer patients? (3) Are caregiver quality of life and caregiver burden associated with depressive symptoms? and (4) Is baseline depression associated with change in depression over time? Methods: This was a secondary analysis of data collected in a cluster randomized controlled trial. Results: Thirty-five percent of caregivers reported depressive symptoms of moderate or greater severity. These depressive symptoms were found to increase depending on the relationship of the caregiver to the patient. Caregivers with higher reported burden and lower reported quality of life were also found to have higher depressive symptoms. Significance of Results: Hospice agencies are encouraged to assess caregiver depressive symptoms and have protocols in place to assist caregivers with high depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-791
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • cancer
  • caregiver burden
  • caregiver quality of life
  • caregivers
  • depression
  • hospice


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