Development of a Psychological Well-being Scale for Family Caregivers in Palliative Care

Objective: A Psychological Well-being Scale for Caregivers (PWS-C) was developed to screen for psychological distress among family caregivers in a Palliative Care Unit for patients with advanced cancer. Methods: To study the psychometric properties of the 11-item PWS-C which consisted of 5 subscales; 132 family caregivers completed the PWS-C, of whom 70 also answered the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaire. Results of 15 caregivers who had received psychological intervention and completed the PWS-C before and after treatment were compared. Results: The internal consistency and test-retest reliability of the scale were found to be satisfactory. A 4-factor structure was identified. Items for Life Meaning and Social Support subscales were accounted for by 1 factor. The subscales of Emotional Distress, Caregiving Inadequacy, and Hospital Care were accounted for by 3 other factors. The PWS-C subscale scores were moderately correlated with HADS scores. Significant changes in the subscales of Social Support and Life Meaning of the PWS-C were identified in pre-post treatment comparisons, which indicated the potential utility of the scale as an outcome measure. Conclusions: The PWS-C could be a reliable and valid tool useful for screening and measuring the outcome of psychological interventions for psychological well-being / distress reduction, for caregivers of patients receiving palliative care. Key words: Caregivers; Mental health; Palliative care. ...

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