Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 189--195

Burden experience of caregivers of acute lymphoblastic leukemia: Impact of coping and spirituality

1 Centre for Health Psychology University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India
2 Department of Psychology, St. Francis College for Women, Hyderabad, India
3 Centre for Health Psychology, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Usha Chivukula
Centre for Health Psychology, University of Hyderabad, Prof. C R Rao, Gachibowli, Hyderabad - 500 046, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_209_17

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Background: When a child is diagnosed with cancer the parents as caregivers experience severe anxiety, trauma, ambiguity, and grief. Caregivers of cancer patients thus deal with the management of their own psychological distress along with the child's illness. Aim: Coping plays a crucial role in improving the caregivers' physical and emotional well-being. Spirituality is an important means of consolation, strength, and emotional support during this phase. The present study aims to investigate the impact of coping and spirituality on caregiver burden. Methods: A total of 100 caregivers of children between the age group of 3–11 years, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia were the participants of the study. The participants were recruited from cancer hospitals in Hyderabad. The study adopted a between-group design to find out if mothers and fathers differed in their coping strategies, spirituality, and caregiver burden. The study also adopted a correlation design to find the relationship between coping, spirituality, and caregiver burden. Descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression analysis were conducted to identify if coping and spirituality predict caregiver burden. Results: The results showed no significant difference in the burden experienced by both mothers and fathers; however, mothers and fathers used different coping strategies and differed on the dimensions of spirituality. The results of multiple linear regression indicated that dimensions of coping and spirituality were significant predictors of caregiver burden. Conclusion: Cancer in the child impacts the parent's burden but providing sufficient support and implementing effective coping strategies, will help in mitigating the intensity of caregiver burden. It is essential that the hospital authorities and policymakers understand that a professional health psychologist could be a liaison between the doctor, patient, and the caregiver in bringing down the levels of burden and psychological distress in caregivers as well as patients.


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