The Role of Financial Security on Physical and Mental Health in Young-Midlife Couples Surviving Cancer

Lyons, K. S., Firkins, J., Hanan, D. M., Hansen, L., Hayes-Lattin, B.

BACKGROUND: A cancer diagnosis carries a significant economic burden. Yet little is known about perceived financial security on the health of couples with a partner diagnosed with cancer. OBJECTIVE: The current study explored perceived financial security in young-midlife couples. METHODS: The study included 49 couples (aged 27-58 years) 1 to 3 years after diagnosis. Multilevel modeling was used to examine the association of perceived financial security on physical and mental health of couples controlling for interdependent data; hierarchical linear regression was used to examine perceived financial security on survivor symptoms and partner care strain. RESULTS: Mean age of survivors was 43.5 (±9.0) years. Most survivors were female (69%) and 2.2 (±0.6) years after diagnosis. Lower levels of perceived financial security were significantly associated with poorer physical (P < .001) and mental (P < .05) health status for survivors, controlling for age, sex, education, and years since diagnosis; there were no significant associations with partner health status. Lower levels of perceived financial security were significantly associated with higher survivor pain severity (P < .001), pain interference (P < .001), and fatigue (P < .01); there was no significant association with partner care strain. CONCLUSIONS: Financial security plays a role on the physical and mental health of couples after diagnosis. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Screening for financial hardship at diagnosis and posttreatment can identify couples at high risk and in need of additional resources and counseling. Greater assessment and reporting of financial security in studies of families surviving cancer are needed to understand the impact on health outcomes.

Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2022
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