Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Research Articles
Published: 2019-11-14

Family anxiety in families with cancer patient

Vinnytsya National Pirogov Memorial Medical University
cancer patients patient's family psycho-oncology oncology psychological help family anxiety


Background. Cancer is a hard challenge for the patient's family that causes changes in family functioning. In the study analyzed manifestations of family anxiety in families with cancer patients, depending on the stage of the disease and the level of adaptation in families.

Contingent and research methods. Based on informed consent, a psychological examination of 288 families with a cancer patient was conducted, of which 174 patients were women and 114 were men. The respondents were further divided into subgroups depending on the stage of cancer and the level of adaptability of the family system.

In the study used the Family Anxiety Questionnaire and the Family Adaptation and Cohesion Scale (FACES-3), a clinical-psychological interview.

Results. Oncology was a powerful stress factor that affected family functioning and potentiated changes in marital relationships, perceptions of family events, attitudes and responsibilities. On the level of family, anxiety influenced the progression of cancer, the adaptability of the family system, the gender of the couple. With continued cancer or relapse, the family responds with increasing family anxiety, guilt and hyper responsibility for the family situation, tension. The progression of cancer in a family member led to increasing manifestations of family anxiety, which expressed in a sense of helplessness, uncontrollability, independence of the situation in the family from their efforts, exaggeration of responsibility for events, failure to fulfil family obligations. Particularly striking was the increased anxiety and guilt in patients' wives. Violations of family adaptability were accompanied by increased family anxiety in all its structural components.

Conclusions. Medical-psychological help for a family of cancer patients is an important part of interventions in oncology practice.

Full-text of the article is available for this locale: Українська.


  1. Holland JC, Breitbart WS, Jacobsen PB, Loscalzo MJ, Butow PN, McCorkle R. Psycho-Oncology. Oxford: Oxford University press; 2015.
  2. Kübler-Ross E. On Death and Dying. Kyiv: Sofija; 2001.
  3. Markova MV, Piontkovska OV, Mukharovska IR. Algorytm povidomlennja diagnozu ta "nespryjatlyvyh" novyn u klinici dytjachoi' onkologii': metodychni rekomendacii'. Kharkiv: Metodychni rekomendacii; 2013.
  4. Jia M, Li J, Chen C, Cao F. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in family caregivers of adult patients with acute leukemia from a dyadic perspective. Psychooncology. 2015;24(12):1754‐60. DOI: PMID:
  5. Drabe N, Klaghofer R, Weidt S, Zwahlen D, Büchi S, Jenewein J. Mutual associations between patients' and partners' depression and quality of life with respect to relationship quality, physical complaints, and sense of coherence in couples coping with cancer. Psychooncology. 2015;24(4):442‐50. DOI: PMID:
  6. Lee KC, Yiin JJ, Lin PC, Lu SH. Sleep disturbances and related factors among family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer. Psychooncology. 2015;24(12):1632‐8. DOI: PMID:
  7. Nipp RD, El-Jawahri A, Fishbein JN, et al. Factors associated with depression and anxiety symptoms in family caregivers of patients with incurable cancer. Ann Oncol. 2016;27(8):1607‐12. DOI: PMID:
  8. Jeong A, Shin DW, Kim SY, et al. The effects on caregivers of cancer patients' needs and family hardiness. Psychooncology. 2016;25(1):84‐90. DOI: PMID:
  9. Lai C, Borrelli B, Ciurluini P, Aceto P. Sharing information about cancer with one's family is associated with improved quality of life. Psychooncology. 2017;26(10):1569‐75. DOI: PMID:
  10. Leroy T, Fournier E, Penel N, Christophe V. Crossed views of burden and emotional distress of cancer patients and family caregivers during palliative care. Psychooncology. 2016;25(11):1278‐85. DOI: PMID:
  11. Mukharovska IR. Features of psychological condition of cancer patient’s relatives in different stages of treatment process. Science Rise, Medical science. 2016;12(8):21–6. DOI: