Introduction. This study aims at examining the role of failures in reflective functioning in predicting anxiety and depression among family caregivers of palliative care patients deceased for at least one year. Methods. A sample of 157 bereaved participants (77.1% females, mean age = 43.50 +/- 14.04 years) completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (RFQ). Results. Results of the correlational analysis showed that anxiety was positively correlated with uncertainty about mental states, indicating one type of impairment in reflective functioning. Anxiety was also negatively correlated with the certainty about mental states. Depression was negatively correlated with certainty but not with uncertainty about mental states. The results of regression analysis indicated that gender and certainty about mental states were statistically significant predictors of anxiety, with the final model explaining 23% of the variance. The results also showed that gender, the condition of being the main caregiver, and the certainty about mental states were significant predictors of depression, with the final model predicting 14% of the variance. Conclusions. Overall, the results of this study point out that the bereaved individuals who scored low on certainty about mental states reported more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Psychological interventions to prevent mental disorders and to promote psychological health in the context of palliative care should carefully consider these findings.

Failures in Reflective Functioning and Reported Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Bereaved Individuals: A Study on a Sample of Family Caregivers of Palliative Care Patients

Lenzo, Vittorio;Sardella, Alberto;Quattropani, Maria C
2022-01-01

Abstract

Introduction. This study aims at examining the role of failures in reflective functioning in predicting anxiety and depression among family caregivers of palliative care patients deceased for at least one year. Methods. A sample of 157 bereaved participants (77.1% females, mean age = 43.50 +/- 14.04 years) completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (RFQ). Results. Results of the correlational analysis showed that anxiety was positively correlated with uncertainty about mental states, indicating one type of impairment in reflective functioning. Anxiety was also negatively correlated with the certainty about mental states. Depression was negatively correlated with certainty but not with uncertainty about mental states. The results of regression analysis indicated that gender and certainty about mental states were statistically significant predictors of anxiety, with the final model explaining 23% of the variance. The results also showed that gender, the condition of being the main caregiver, and the certainty about mental states were significant predictors of depression, with the final model predicting 14% of the variance. Conclusions. Overall, the results of this study point out that the bereaved individuals who scored low on certainty about mental states reported more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Psychological interventions to prevent mental disorders and to promote psychological health in the context of palliative care should carefully consider these findings.
anxiety
cancer
caregiver
depression
health psychology
mentalizing
palliative care
Adult
Anxiety
Anxiety Disorders
Depression
Female
Humans
Male
Middle Aged
Quality of Life
Caregivers
Palliative Care
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/542901
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