The Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Quality of Life and Negative Emotions of Informal Cancer Caregivers

The Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Quality of Life and Negative Emotions of Informal Cancer Caregivers

Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2022

Each year, the increasing incidence of cancer places a growing burden not only on patients but also on their caregivers, affecting their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral health. The study by Zhou et al. (2022) explores the profound impact of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and quality of life of informal caregivers supporting individuals with diverse cancer diagnoses.

An estimated 10-60% of informal caregivers have been impacted negatively by caregiving and have experienced depression, anxiety, as well as other physical or psychological effects (Zhou et al., 2022). Informal caregivers are considered spouses or significant others, adult children, family members, friends and/or neighbors. 

In all 17 studies reviewed, significant reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms were observed following the interventions, whether conducted through traditional face-to-face sessions or virtually, underscoring the efficacy of CBT. Earlier interventions yielded more promising effects for informal caregivers experiencing negative emotions. 


Highlights from the Study

“Existing evidence from randomized controlled trials suggests that CBT and various modified CBT are effective in improving negative emotions in caregivers of cancer patients.” (p. 2). 

“CBT had a positive effect on reducing depression and anxiety in informal cancer caregivers, and the effect on quality of life was not statistically significant, but showed a positive trend.” (p. 11).


At Feeling Good Institute, we work with clients of all types, including caregivers, drawing on proven approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to mitigate stress, anxiety, and depression. Our expertise extends to assisting a diverse range of clients in managing grief, significant life changes, and other emotional challenges, ensuring that everyone, especially those who care for others, has the support they need to thrive.

Research Brief Author: Chelsea Houghton RN, MACP (In Progress)


Zhou, S., Wang, Y,. Wang, Q,. Yang, G., Ren, H., & Bao, Y. (2022). A meta-analysis of the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on quality of life and negative emotions of informal cancer caregivers. Frontiers in Psychiatry 13:979158.


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