You are here

  1. Home
  2. Interrelationships Between Health Behaviors and Coping Strategies Among Informal Caregivers of Cancer Survivors

Interrelationships Between Health Behaviors and Coping Strategies Among Informal Caregivers of Cancer Survivors

Background: Recent research among cancer survivors suggests that health behaviors and coping are intertwined, with important implications for positive behavior change and health. Informal caregivers may have poor health behaviors, and caregivers' health behaviors have been linked to those of survivors.; Aims: This hypothesis generating study assessed the correlations among health behaviors and coping strategies in a population of lung and colorectal cancer caregivers.; Method: This cross-sectional study used data from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research & Surveillance Consortium. Caregivers ( n = 1,482) reported their health behaviors, coping, and sociodemographic and caregiving characteristics. Descriptive statistics assessed the distribution of caregivers' health and coping behaviors, and multivariable linear regressions assessed the associations between health behaviors and coping styles.; Results: Many informal caregivers reported regular exercise (47%) and adequate sleep (37%); few reported smoking (19%) or binge drinking (7%). Problem-focused coping was associated with greater physical activity and less adequate sleep (effect sizes [ESs] up to 0.21, p < .05). Those with some physical activity scored higher on emotion-focused coping, while binge drinkers scored lower (ES = 0.16 and 0.27, p < .05). Caregivers who reported moderate daily activity, current smoking, binge drinking, and feeling less well rested scored higher on dysfunctional coping (ES up to 0.49, p < .05).; Discussion: Health behaviors and coping strategies were interrelated among informal cancer caregivers. The relationships suggest avenues for future research, including whether targeting both factors concurrently may be particularly efficacious at improving informal caregiver self-care.; Conclusion: Understanding the link between health behaviors and coping strategies may inform health behavior research and practice.

Access source material through DOI

Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
Sage Publications
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
Health Education & Behavior
Volume Number
Start Page
End Page