Family satisfaction with palliative care: A test of four alternative theories.
AuthorKristjanson, Linda Joan
Family -- psychology
Terminal Care -- psychology
Medical social work.
AdvisorAtwood, Jan R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe experience of dealing with end-stage cancer in a family member has been reported to be stressful. One source of stress experienced by family members may be dissatisfaction with care received by the patient and themselves. For health professionals to provide care that promotes family satisfaction, it is essential to measure this phenomenon and understand the elements that contribute to satisfaction. An examination of the literature revealed four competing explanatory theories of satisfaction, none of which has solid empirical support. Moreover, these theories had not been tested with families or those experiencing cancer care in particular. Therefore, the aim of this research was to test these alternative theories using theoretical and empirical modeling with the expectation that a useful model would be identified to guide clinical practice of families in terminal care situations. The theories tested were: (1) Vroom's Fulfillment Theory, (2) Porter's Discrepancy Theory, (3) Thibaut and Kelley's Social Comparison Theory, and (4) Ajzen and Fishbein's Expectancy Value Theory. A correlational design with a causal modeling methodology was used. One hundred and nine family members of patients with advanced cancer were obtained from three different palliative care services. Five instruments were used to collect data: (1) FAMCARE Scale, (2) F-Care Needs Scale, (3) F-Care Expectations Scale, (4) F-Care Perceptions Scale, and (5) a short demographic questionnaire. Data analysis included use of descriptive statistics to summarize the sample in terms of demographic variables, reliability and validity testing of the instruments, and theoretical and empirical model testing using multiple regression techniques and residual analysis. Of the four theories tested, Discrepancy theory was the most credible, accounting for 68 percent of explained variance in family care satisfaction. Empirical modeling resulted in identification of the Family Care Satisfaction Model, which explained 78 percent of the variance in care satisfaction. Implications for theory construction and clinical practice are presented and recommendations for further research offered. The family constitutes perhaps the most important social context within which health and illness occur. As more families are required to care for dependent or ill members at home, understanding the needs, expectations, and satisfactions with care experienced by families will become increasingly important.