Moving on: Factors associated with caregivers’ bereavement adjustment using a random population-based face-to-face survey

Emma Burns, Holly Prigerson, Stephen Quinn, Amy Abernethy, David Currow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Providing care at end of life has consequences for caregivers’ bereavement experience. ‘Difficulty moving on with life’ is an informative and unbiased symptom of prolonged grief disorder. Predictors of bereaved caregivers’ ability to ‘move on’ have not been examined across the population.

    To identify the characteristics of bereaved hands-on caregivers who were, and were not, able to ‘move on’ 13–60 months after the ‘expected’ death of someone close.

    The South Australian Health Omnibus is an annual, random, cross-sectional community survey. From 2000 to 2007, respondents were asked about providing care for someone terminally ill and their subsequent ability to ‘move on’. Multivariable logistic regression models explored the characteristics moving on and not moving on.

    Respondents were aged ⩾15 years and lived in households within South Australia. They had provided care to someone who had died of terminal illness in the preceding 5 years.

    A total of 922 people provided hands-on care. In all, 80% of caregivers (745) had been able to ‘move on’. Closeness of relationship to the deceased, increasing caregiver age, caregiver report of needs met, increasing time since loss, sex and English-speaking background were significantly associated with ‘moving on’. A closer relationship to the deceased, socioeconomic disadvantage and being male were significantly associated with not ‘moving on’.

    These results support the relevance of ‘moving on’ as an indicator of caregivers’ bereavement adjustment. Following the outcomes of bereaved caregivers longitudinally is essential if effective interventions are to be developed to minimise the risk of prolonged grief disorder.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)257-267
    Number of pages11
    JournalPalliative Medicine
    Issue number1
    Early online date19 Jun 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


    • Population survey
    • Period prevalence
    • Grief
    • Expected death
    • Palliative care
    • expected death
    • period prevalence
    • palliative care
    • moving on
    • grief


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