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Hopelessness, Death Anxiety, and Social Support of Hospitalized Patients With Gynecologic Cancer and Their Caregivers

Uslu-Sahan, Fatma MSN, RN; Terzioglu, Fusun PhD, MSN, RN; Koc, Gulten PhD, MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000622
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Background Gynecologic cancer can create hopelessness and death anxiety and alter the lifestyle of the affected women and their caregivers. Perceived social support may facilitate coping with this illness.

Objective The aim of this study was to determine whether hospitalized patients with gynecologic cancer and their caregivers differ in feelings of hopelessness and death anxiety and how those conditions may be related to their social support.

Methods Two hundred patients with gynecologic cancer and their 200 caregivers from 1 university hospital were enrolled in this descriptive correlational study. Study measures included a demographic form, the Perceived Social Support Scale, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and the Thorson-Powell's Death Anxiety Scale. Data were analyzed using Student t test, Pearson correlation test, and linear regression analyses.

Results Patients had higher hopelessness and death anxiety compared with caregivers (P < .001). Patients' perceived social support explained 35% of the total variance in hopelessness and 28% of the variance in death anxiety; caregivers' perceived social support explained 40% of the total variance in hopelessness and 12% of the variance in death anxiety.

Conclusion Patients felt hopelessness and death anxiety in greater rates than caregivers. Social support had a significant effect on hopelessness and death anxiety of patients and their caregivers.

Implications for Practice Nurses, who are the healthcare professionals spending time with patients and families from diagnosis forward, need to evaluate patients and their caregivers for hopelessness and death anxiety and consider their social support systems during this evaluation.

Author Affiliations: Faculty of Nursing, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecologic Nursing, Hacettepe University (Mrs Uslu-Sahan and Dr Koc); and Faculty of Health Sciences, Atilim University (Dr Terzioglu), Ankara, Turkey.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Fatma Uslu-Sahan, MSN, RN, Faculty of Nursing, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecologic Nursing, Hacettepe University, Sihhiye, Ankara 06100, Turkey (fatma.uslu@hacettepe.edu.tr).

Accepted for publication March 26, 2018.

Online date: June 22, 2018

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