Anxiety Disorders in Family Caregivers of Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Oncologic Treatment in Malaysia

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

2 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Hospital Tuanku Canselor Tuanku Mukhriz, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Cheras, Malaysia

3 Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Background: Anxiety is recognized as a normal psychological reaction of those caring for cancer patients. However, anxiety disorders in caregivers may interfere with their care-giving role and require further clinical attention. Objectives: To determine the prevalence and associated factors of anxiety disorders among caregivers of breast cancer patients receiving oncologic treatment in Kuala Lumpur Hospital. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 130 caregiver-patient dyads, recruited by non-random sampling at Kuala Lumpur Hospital. Data were collected in 2 stages: 1) the caregivers were screened for psychological distress using the Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Scale (DASS-21) while other related factors for the patients and their caregivers were obtained; 2) the identified distressed caregivers (n=64) were then administered the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) to diagnose anxiety disorders. Results: A total of 11.5% (n=15) of the caregivers reported suffering from anxiety disorders. Bivariate analysis found duration of caregiving (OR=3.31; CI=2.21-11.93), shared caregiving (OR=4.07; CI=1.34-12.36), and patients’ treatment type (OR=3.42; CI=1.92-12.76) were significantly associated with anxiety disorders (p value <0.05), with shared caregiving and patient’s treatment type remaining significant using logistic regression (p value < 0.05, R2 = 0.255). Conclusions: Every one in ten of the caregivers in this study had a diagnosable anxiety disorder, associated with certain care-giving factors and patients’ treatment. This should alert clinicians to such risk and indicates psychological support needs for family caregivers.


Main Subjects

Volume 18, Issue 2
February 2017
Pages 465-471
  • Receive Date: 28 November 2016
  • Revise Date: 07 January 2017
  • Accept Date: 23 March 2017
  • First Publish Date: 23 March 2017