To explore which sociodemographic and caregiving characteristics are predictive of poor health status in caregivers of people with cancer living in South Australia.
The South Australian Health Omnibus is a population-based cross-sectional survey administered annually to representatives aged ≥15 years from 5,300 households purposively sampled from metropolitan and rural areas. The final sample is weighted according to sex, age and geographic area to represent the state. The survey was administered via face-to-face interviews by trained personnel. Poor health status was defined as SF-12 physical and mental component scale summary scores (PCS and MCS) 0.5 standard deviation lower than Australian norms. Logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors of poor health status among caregiving tasks, time commitment and support. Goodness of fit was examined using Pearson chi-square.
The final sample included 3047 people, of whom 407 (13.3%) self-identified as caregiving for someone with cancer. One hundred and twenty one (29.7%) reported poor PCS, and 113 (27.7%) reported poor MCS. Sociodemographic characteristics associated with poor PCS included having lower education (≥graduate odds ratio [OR] 0.40, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 0.20-0.78; p=0.008) and being unemployed (employed OR 0.43, 95%CI 0.25-0.75;p=0.003). Caregiving characteristics associated with poor PCS included having control over few aspects of care (control over some/most aspects OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.04-3.12;p=0.037) and caring for someone with more than one condition (OR 1.34, 95%CI 1.08-1.67;p=0.007). Only sociodemographic, not caregiving, characteristics were associated with poor MCS, namely: being aged ≥65 years (OR 0.43, 95%CI 0.23-0.81;p=0.009), having lower education (≥graduate OR 0.46, 95%CI 0.23-0.92;p=0.029), being unemployed (employed OR 0.26, 95%CI 0.14-0.50;p<0.001), and having a household income of >$60,000 (OR 0.44, 95%CI 0.24-0.82;p=0.010).
Socio-economic variables were found to be the most consistent predictors of poor physical and mental health status in a population-based sample of South Australian cancer caregivers.