A Developmental Approach to Examining Well-Being in the Context of the Cancer Patient and Caregiver Relationship

Ximena Giesemann, Saida Heshmati, Jessica DeHart


The cancer patient and caregiver relationship is a pivotal aspect of caregiver well-being. Because cancer caregivers spend considerable amounts of time interacting with the patient and due to the long-standing, dynamic nature of this caregiver-patient interplay, this interaction can generate positive or dysfunctional outcomes. To date, there is relatively little research focused on caregivers’ experiences in the patient-caregiver dynamic, specifically that which explores this phenomenon using a lifespan developmental approach. This review places the cancer caregiver at the center of the bioecological model (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006), deeming the interaction between the caregiver and patient a proximal process a main driver of development--in the caregiver’s ecological environment. Within this interaction, how the developmental life stage--according to Erikson’s (1959) stages of psychosocial development of both the caregiver and the patient impacts caregiver well-being is investigated. Findings can inform age-appropriate interventions made to foster caregiver and patient well-being.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13129/2612-4033/0110-3587


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