When Family Life Contributes to Cancer Caregiver Burden in Palliative Care

Jacquelyn J. Benson, Karla T. Washington, Olivia J. Landon, Daphne E. Chakurian, George Demiris, Debra Parker Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The difficulties of caring for a family member with advanced cancer are well documented. Support from a caregiver’s social network—especially other family—is vital to reducing caregiver burden and psychological distress. However, the family environment is not always supportive as reports of family conflict and dissatisfaction with support are common. Despite knowing that family relationships are complex, little is known about the types of family stress that caregivers of advanced cancer patients face in their daily lives. To address this gap, researchers applied concepts from the double ABCX model to conduct a reflexive thematic analysis of interviews with 63 caregivers of cancer patients receiving outpatient palliative care. Four themes of family stress were identified: failed support, relational tensions, denial, and additional care work. Findings inform clinical assessment and caregiver intervention development by revealing the importance of measuring the mundane machinations of family life for caregivers of adult cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-287
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • cancer
  • caregiver
  • caregiver burden
  • family life
  • palliative care
  • social support


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