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Finding Balance: The Experience of Hope for Bereaved Caregivers of Palliative Cancer Patients

60 Years
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Trial Information

Finding Balance: The Experience of Hope for Bereaved Caregivers of Palliative Cancer Patients

Research devoted to determining the efficacy of bereavement interventions remains a top
priority. The development of theory-based, acceptable and feasible psychosocial
interventions would begin to address the needs of family caregivers. A prominent theory of
coping with bereavement, Stroebe and Schut's Dual Process Model, describes oscillation
between loss-oriented and restoration-oriented coping; having a balance between these
processes predicted more positive outcomes for older bereaved spouses. Similarly, the
process of "finding balance" emerged as a first step in the search for new hope in the PI's
grounded theory research with older bereaved family caregivers. They described the
importance and difficulty of "finding balance" as they recovered from caregiving and
struggled to find a new meaning and purpose for their lives after the loss of a spouse to
cancer. An intervention focused on "finding balance" provides an innovative and promising
approach to guiding the development of a theory-based psychosocial intervention for family
caregivers who become bereaved. In clinical work a highly focused writing intervention has
shown important benefits (personal communication, Dr. Robert Neimeyer, March 4, 2009). A
validated tool to measure the effectiveness of an intervention to find balance does not
exist, however valid existing measures of hope, grief, and an inventory of balance based on
the Dual Process Model will be used as proxies. Therefore, the overall purpose of this study
is to develop and pilot-test a theory-based psychosocial supportive "finding balance"
intervention for older, bereaved spousal caregivers of a palliative cancer patient.

Inclusion Criteria:

- women and men, ages 60 and over, who previously resided with and provided care for a
spouse with terminal cancer who died within the last year, English speaking, and
freely consenting to be involved in the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

- will be those cognitively impaired, non-autonomous, or not able to give a free and
informed consent, as determined by the registered nurse research assistant on initial

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Subject), Primary Purpose: Supportive Care

Outcome Measure:


Outcome Description:

Herth Hope Index, Hogan Grief Scale, Inventory of Daily Widowed Life, Finding Balance Scale

Outcome Time Frame:

2 weeks

Safety Issue:



Canada: Ethics Review Committee

Study ID:




Start Date:

February 2011

Completion Date:

June 2012

Related Keywords:

  • Grief
  • Writing Intervention
  • Bereaved Caregivers
  • Older Adults
  • hope
  • inventory of daily widowed life