Complicated Grief Symptoms in Caregivers of Persons with Lung Cancer: The Role of Family Conflict, Intrapsychic Strains, and Hospice Utilizationedit
Guided by a stress process conceptual model, this study examines social and psychological determinants of complicated grief symptoms focusing on family conflict, intrapsychic strains, and the potential moderating effect of care quality and hospice utilization. Relying on data from 152 spouse and adult child lung cancer caregiver survey respondents, drawn from an ancillary study of the Assessment of Cancer CarE and SatiSfaction (ACCESS) in Wisconsin, hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to examine determinants of complicated grief. After controlling for contextual factors and time since death, complicated grief symptoms were higher among caregivers with less education, among families with lower prior conflict but higher conflict at the end-of-life, who had family members who had difficulty accepting the illness, and who were caring for patients with greater fear of death. Additionally, hospice utilization moderated the effect of fear of death on complicated grief. Findings suggest that family conflict, intrapsychic strains, and hospice utilization may help to explain the variability found in complicated grief symptoms among bereaved caregivers. Implications for enhancing complicated grief assessment tools and preventative interventions across the continuum of cancer care are highlighted.