Caregiver Characteristics Associated With Cognitive Complaints in Women With Breast Cancer

Yesol Yang

Victoria Poillucci

Deborah "Hutch" Allen

Wei Pan

Eleanor McConnell

Cristina C. Hendrix

breast cancer, caregiver, cognitive complaints, cognitive impairment, cognitive ability
ONF 2021, 48(4), 453-464. DOI: 10.1188/21.ONF.453-464

Objectives: To explore whether caregiver characteristics were associated with cognitive complaints reported by women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Sample & Setting: 61 dyads of women with breast cancer and their caregivers were recruited at Duke Women’s Cancer Care Raleigh in North Carolina.

Methods & Variables: An exploratory, cross-sectional design was used. Data were obtained on patients and caregivers. Patient cognitive complaints were represented by cognitive impairment (CI) and cognitive ability (CA).

Results: Two significant associations were found: between patient CI and caregiver mental health, general health, and burden; and between patient CA and caregiver self-confidence and burden. Caregiver burden, which showed correlations with both patient CI and CA, was found to influence patient CA. Also, patient depression played a mediator role in the association between caregiver general health and patient CI.

Implications for Nursing: Healthcare providers should consider caregivers when assessing and managing patients’ cognitive symptoms. This study suggests the value of including caregivers when establishing interventions for patients who have cognitive complaints.

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