Objectives: To explore whether caregiver characteristics were associated with cognitive complaints reported by women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.
Sample & Setting: 61 dyads of women with breast cancer and their caregivers were recruited at Duke Women’s Cancer Care Raleigh in North Carolina.
Methods & Variables: An exploratory, cross-sectional design was used. Data were obtained on patients and caregivers. Patient cognitive complaints were represented by cognitive impairment (CI) and cognitive ability (CA).
Results: Two significant associations were found: between patient CI and caregiver mental health, general health, and burden; and between patient CA and caregiver self-confidence and burden. Caregiver burden, which showed correlations with both patient CI and CA, was found to influence patient CA. Also, patient depression played a mediator role in the association between caregiver general health and patient CI.
Implications for Nursing: Healthcare providers should consider caregivers when assessing and managing patients’ cognitive symptoms. This study suggests the value of including caregivers when establishing interventions for patients who have cognitive complaints.