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Anticipatory grief prevalence among caregivers of persons with a life-threatening illness: A meta-analysis
  1. Christina Yeni Kustanti1,2,
  2. Hsin Chu3,4,
  3. Xiao Linda Kang1,5,
  4. Li-Chung Pien6,7,
  5. Ruey Chen1,6,8,
  6. Hsiu-Ting Tsai1,6 and
  7. Kuei-Ru Chou1,8,9,10
  1. 1School of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  2. 2Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Kesehatan Bethesda Yakkum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  3. 3Institute of Aerospace and Undersea Medicine, School of Medicine, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
  4. 4Department of Neurology, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
  5. 5School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, PA, Pennsylvania, USA
  6. 6Post-Baccalaureate Program in Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  7. 7Psychiatric Research Center, Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  8. 8Department of Nursing, Taipei Medical University-Shuang Ho Hospital, New Taipei, Taiwan
  9. 9Center for Nursing and Healthcare Research in Clinical Practice Application, Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  10. 10Psychiatric Research Center, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kuei-Ru Chou, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan; kueiru{at}tmu.edu.tw

Abstract

Objectives Caring for a family member with a life-threatening illness may lead to increased levels of psychological morbidity. Given the lack of recognition of caregivers’ grief, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of anticipatory grief disorders in caregivers of persons with a life-threatening illness for better intervention and management.

Methods CINAHL, Cochrane, Embase, Medline, PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO and Web of Science were searched up to 21 March 2021 without language and time restrictions. The quality of the included studies was assessed with Hoy’s criteria. A random-effects model was applied to calculate pooled prevalence rates, and multi-regression was performed to examine heterogeneity among studies.

Results A total of 3278 citations were retrieved, and 18 studies met the eligibility criteria involving 5470 caregivers. The pooled prevalence of anticipatory grief was 24.78% (95% CI 19.04% to 30.99%). The prevalence rates were significantly higher in female caregivers (16.64%; 95% CI 12.24% to 21.53%) compared with male caregivers (6.11%; 95% CI 4.55% to 7.87%). The married group also had a higher risk (14.66%; 95% CI 10.66% to 19.16%) than single group (5.47%; 95% CI 4.31% to 6.76%).

Conclusions The overall pooled prevalence is substantially higher compared with after-loss grief in the general population and supported the presumptions that preloss grief has a greater magnitude compared with after-loss grief. Bereavement support, educational programmes and relevant resources should be delivered even before the actual loss to address the burden of caregivers.

  • bereavement
  • family management
  • psychological care

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Not applicable.

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Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Not applicable.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors Conception and design of study: CYK and KRC. Literature searching and screening, and data collection: CYK and XLK. Analysis and/or interpretation of data: CYK, HC, and XLK. Drafting the manuscript: CYK, XLK, and LCP. Revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content: CYK, XLK, LCP, RC, and HTT. Approval of the version of the manuscript to be published: RC, HTT, and KRC.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.