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Psychological distress, social support, and quality of life among cancer caregivers in Albania

Objective Drawing on the Stress Process Model, this study examines cancer caregiving in Albania. We used conditional process analysis to test the relationship between psychological distress and quality of life through social support and to examine whether gender moderates pathways in this mediation model. Methods Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a non-probability sample of 377 caregivers from the public oncology service. Standardized measures were selected based on psychometric properties and cross-cultural adequacy; all had good internal consistency. Results Participants reported high levels of psychological distress, moderate social support, and poor quality of life. Compared with men, women had higher levels of distress, worse quality of life, and comparable levels of support. Men were more likely to be caring for a spouse and to rely on friends, while women also cared for others and relied more on family. Social support mediated a strong negative relationship between psychological distress and QoL. These pathways did not differ by gender. Conclusions Cancer is increasing rapidly in developing countries, where family caregiving is the preferred and often only option for long-term, intensive care. This study points to high risks for psychological distress and reduced quality of life, especially for female caregivers in Albania. Findings further highlight the importance of social supports an as avenue for prevention and intervention to improve quality of life for both men and women. 

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John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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