Sleep and depression in cancer caregivers

Patricia A. Carter, Betty L. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A cross-sectional, correlational design was used to describe and explore the relation between caregiver sleep and depression. For the study, 51 caregivers were recruited from two sites in southern California. Caregivers were primarily white (84%), female (80%), spouses (61%), or adult children (29%), who had provided care for a mean of 16 hours per day for an average of 2 years. The Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression (CES-D) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) were used to measure caregiver depression and sleep, respectively. Most of the caregivers (95%) expressed severe sleep problems, and more than half of them were experiencing depressive symptoms at a level that would suggest risk for clinical depression. Correlations were strongest between caregiver depression and the sleep subscales of overall quality (r = 0.70; p < 0.001), habitual sleep efficiency (r = 0.54; p < 0.001), and daytime dysfunction (r = 0.59; p < 0.001). The final regression model, which included these subscales, predicted 63.6% of the variance in depression scores (F = 27.32; p < 0.001). These findings, which are consistent with results from other studies, suggest that caregivers of persons with terminal illness are at risk for clinical depression. It is critical for nurses to be cognizant of the relation between sleep problems and depression, and to explore interventions that would allow the caregivers to obtain needed sleep without diminishing their ability to function in their role as caregiver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Caregivers
  • Depression
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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