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The Proliferation of Primary Cancer Caregiving Stress to Secondary Stress

Gaugler, Joseph E. PhD; Linder, Jeanette MD; Given, Charles W. PhD; Kataria, Ritesh MD; Tucker, Galina MD; Regine, William F. MD

doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000305700.05250.9d

Few studies examine how cancer caregiving stress "proliferates," or how stress related to care provision spreads and influences other aspects of life. These other aspects of life are called secondary stressors and may include perceptions of family support, financial strain, or the caregiver's schedule. In the current study, data on sociodemographic background, care demands, and psychosocial stress were collected from 186 cancer caregivers. A multivariate regression analysis was used to identify factors reliably related to secondary stressors. Role overload appeared to exacerbate multiple secondary stressors, whereas socioemotional support protected caregivers against all dimensions of secondary stress. These empirical results are among the first on predictors of secondary stress in cancer caregiving, and they may inform future descriptive and clinical examinations of the stress process in cancer caregiving families.

Authors' Affiliations: Center on Aging, Center for Gerontological Nursing, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Dr Gaugler); Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore (Drs Linder, Kataria, Tucker, and Regine); Department of Family Practice, Michigan State University, East Lansing (Dr Given).

Drs Gaugler, Linder, Given, Kataria, and Tucker have no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.

Dr Regine has disclosed that he is/was a member of the Speaker's Bureau of Schering-Plough.

Corresponding author: Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, Center on Aging, Center for Gerontological Nursing, School of Nursing, The University of Minnesota, 6-150 Weaver-Densford Hall 1331, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (

Accepted for publication August 22, 2007.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.