Skip to main content

The relationship of the stress and burden of cancer caregiving with health behaviors and risk of cardiovascular disease

Friday, November 08, 2013 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • A. Ross
  • L. Yang
  • L. Wehrlen
  • S. Klagholz
  • M. Bevans


The relationship between the stress of cancer caregiving and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is not well understood. This analysis examines relationships among psychological factors (perceived stress, anxiety, depression, burden, and loneliness), healthy behaviors, and biomarkers of CVD [glucose metabolism, blood pressure (BP), cholesterol (HDL/LDL), and inflammatory factors]. Longitudinal data from caregivers and age, gender, and ethnicity matched controls were analyzed. Surveys included perceived stress scale (PSS), PROMIS anxiety and depression, UCLA Loneliness, and Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile-II. Adult (M=51.3 SD=12.1 years) caregivers (n=21) and controls (n=20) were primarily female (63%) and white (61%). Caregivers had significantly higher stress, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and fewer healthy behaviors. In caregiver subjects, burden and loneliness were positively correlated to a.m. salivary cortisol; burden was positively related to LDL levels; depression was positively correlated with TNF and fasting glucose; and healthy behaviors were negatively correlated with fasting glucose and systolic BP. Additionally, caregiver sleep disturbance was significantly higher and associated with increased TNF levels. Findings suggest that caregiving may impact psychological and behavioral health, and these factors ultimately may influence cardiovascular health. Interventions targeting healthy behaviors may moderate the psychological effects of caregiving on disease risk. Funding: NIH Intramural Program.

back to top