There are approximately 3 million Americans who care for someone with cancer. A rich body of research has showed the burdens of cancer caregiving and its negative impact on caregivers’ physical, psychological, and social well‐being. Caregiving for cancer patients has also been shown to be associated with increased morbidity and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality as stress and depression are predictors for cardiovascular disease.
Cancer caregivers’ anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms have been observed associated with their patients’ physical and psychological functioning. Several efforts have also begun to reveal the association of patient-caregiver relationship with the cancer caregiver’s psychosocial well-being. Finding results suggest that dyadic intervention research is warranted to address the issue. However, only a few interventions have been designed and tested to include both patient and caregiver with a focus on the dyads in the context of cancer. Further, no dyadic intervention study has been done to address the relationship quality issue between cancer patients and their caregivers.
The study will advance the knowledge of oncology social work in three aspects. First, it will deepen the understanding of the relationship challenges between cancer patients and their caregivers. Second, it will examine the association of the relationship factors and other health and mental health outcomes between cancer patients and their caregivers. Third, it will enrich the oncology social work literature by providing evidence of a potential dyadic intervention model addressing the relationship quality and their impacts on other psychosocial outcomes.