NIH Research Festival
Background: Evidence suggests informal caregiving impacts the employment status of caregivers to the chronically ill and elderly. This impact among cancer caregivers, however, has not been widely characterized. This analysis identified demographic and clinical factors that might place cancer caregivers at risk for employment change as a result of caregiving responsibilities. Methods: Cross-sectional data were drawn from an ongoing longitudinal study of informal caregivers of cancer patients starting a new treatment. Demographic and clinical factors were collected and used in the analysis: caregiver age; sex; household income; education; race/ethnicity; relationship to patient; role (solo or team caregiving); responsibility to care for additional individuals; and patient treatment type. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate which factor(s) predicted employment change (yes/no). Results: Caregivers (n=136) had a mean age of 48.40 years and were predominantly male (68.6%), married (83.1%), and White, non-Hispanic (70.1%). When controlling for age, income, role, relationship, and treatment type, the final model revealed that caregivers who were female, Hispanic, educated at the graduate/professional level, and responsible for ≥2 individuals were more likely to experience employment change compared to those who were male, non-Hispanic, educated at the bachelor level and below, and responsible for only one individual. Discussion: This analysis provides evidence that certain cancer caregivers may be at risk for changes in work status. Further research is needed to understand how changes in work status may contribute to financial difficulties and family destabilization, as well as how providers may intervene to mitigate the effects of these changes.
Scientific Focus Area: Social and Behavioral Sciences
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