Main Article Content
Background: Psychological distress is a major problem among caregivers of patients with chronic illness such as cancer. Psychological distress in caregivers affects the provision of healthcare services.The aim of this study was to determine the magnitude and factors contributing to psychological distress among caregivers of children receiving cancer treatment at Muhimbili National Hospital.
Method: A cross sectional hospital-based study was done. Questionnaires were used to collect information on socio demographic characteristics and psychological support while Hopkins Symptoms Checklist 25 was used to determine psychological distress. The association between the socio demographic characteristics, psychological support and psychological distress was determined using logistic regression analysis (univariate and multivariate analysis) and p values of less than 0.05 were considered significant.
Results: Prevalence of psychological distress was 64(66.7%) among 96 caregivers interviewed while the proportion of psychological support was 71(74 %.) The social demographic characteristics were not associated with psychological distress. Psychological support from family member was protective against psychological distress (p=0.025, OR=0.047,CI 0.003-0.686) while other means of psychological support and self-copying mechanism to psychological distress were not associated with psychological distress.
Conclusion: The prevalence of psychological distress was high despite the high proportion of psychological support. Socio demographic characteristics had no association with psychological distress. Psychological support from family member was protective against psychological distress. Further studies are needed to assess the social cultural aspect, content and context of psychological support.