This study aimed to examine the association between caregiver burden and depression among Chinese cancer caregivers, and to identify the buffering role of self-compassion in the relationship between caregiver burden and depressive symptoms. In China, family caregivers perform major tasks and responsibilities on behalf of cancer patients because of unique Chinese norms regarding family obligations and the underdeveloped healthcare system. The caregiver burden has become a major challenge facing family members, and it could elicit depressive symptoms, but the protective factors buffering the effects of caregiver burden on depression are understudied.
A convenience sample of 208 family caregivers of cancer patients visiting a hospital in Tianjin City was surveyed. Data on depression, caregiver burden, and self-compassion were collected using reliable established scales. A series of linear regression models was estimated to determine the statistical relationships among the variables and the moderation effect of self-compassion.
Caregiving burden was positively associated with depression, and the hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that self-compassion was associated with a reduction in the negative influence of caregiver burden on depression.
This correlational study, which found an association between caregiving burden and depression, provides the basis for a longitudinal study that examines whether there is a causal relationship between caregiving burden and depression among Chinese caregivers of individuals with cancer.