Trait mindfulness and the mental and physical health of caregivers for individuals with cancer

C. L. Hecht, A. Amin, J. Miceli, D. Olejniczak, T. Peyser, D. A. Geller, M. Antoni, G. Kiefer, V. Reyes, D. P. Zandberg, J. T. Johnson, M. L. Nilsen, S. Tohme, J. L. Steel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Mindfulness plays a role in one's mental and physical health outcomes. The aims of this study were to examine the relationship between trait mindfulness and the (1) psychological functioning, (2) health behaviors, (3) and physical health of caregivers for individuals diagnosed with cancer. Methods: An observational cross-sectional study was conducted with family caregivers of individuals diagnosed with cancer. Caregivers were recruited for the study during oncology appointments with their loved ones at twelve academic and community oncology centers located in western Pennsylvania. Caregivers completed a battery of questionnaires and examinations assessing sociodemographic characteristics, trait mindfulness, depression, perceived stress, caregiver stress, sleep, diet, physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use, blood pressure, and BMI. Demographic and cancer-related information was collected from the individuals whom caregivers supported and the medical chart. Linear, logistic, and ordinal regression were performed. Results: Of the 77 caregivers, the mean age was 64 (S.D.=10.7); 60% identified as female; 97% identified as White; the response rate was 72.6%. Regression analyses indicated that caregivers who reported higher levels of trait mindfulness reported significantly lower levels of depression (β= -0.35, SE= 1.13, 95% CI= -5.95, -1.43, p=.002), better caregiver quality of life (β= -0.422, SE=2.17, 95% CI= -13.03, -4.38, p<.001), lower levels of perceived stress (β= -.517, SE= 0.90, 95% CI= -6.06, -2.47, p<.001), better sleep quality (β= -0.23, SE=0.44, 95% CI= -1.78, -0.2, p= 0.05), lower rates of tobacco use (OR= 7.15; 95% CI= 1.36, 37.47, p=.007), and greater levels of physical activity (X2 =20.60, p<.001). Trait mindfulness was not significantly related to diet, alcohol use, blood pressure, or BMI. Conclusions: Findings indicated that higher levels of trait mindfulness are associated with positive mental and physical health outcomes for caregivers. Future research would benefit from further examining mindfulness-based interventions and their impacts in mitigating the negative toll of caregiving in the context of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101325
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
Volume44
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Caregiver
  • Mental health
  • Mind-body
  • Mindfulness
  • Physical health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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