The objective of this study was to examine caregivers' gender and relationship to
the cancer survivor as plausible predictors of their appraisals of providing care,
and to further examine the association of the caregivers' appraisal with their own
quality of life. Of the 739 caregivers who participated in the American Cancer Society's
Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers, 627 were either the spouse or the offspring
of a cancer survivor. Of those, 448 who provided complete information on study variables
were included in this study. Multivariate analyses revealed that male caregivers were
more likely to appraise the caregiving experience as boosting their self-esteem (positive)
than female caregivers, whereas adult daughters appraised the experience as stressful
(negative), and sons appraised the experience as the least stressful. More importantly,
caregivers' esteem and caregiving stress were strong predictors of the caregivers'
quality of life. These effects were significant after controlling for potentially
confounding variables. The findings suggest that cancer caregivers may benefit from
programs designed to assist them in viewing their involvement in cancer care as meaningful
and as a personal growth experience, as well as helping them to seek support to minimize
their caregiving stress.