Context: Family functioning is a modifiable factor associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and complicated grief (CG) among the bereaved families of patients with advanced cancer; however, the evidence regarding this association is limited. Objectives: We aimed to explore the association of family functioning with possible MDD and CG among the bereaved families of patients with advanced cancer who died in palliative care units. Methods: This study is a part of the J-HOPE4 study, a nationwide cross-sectional multi-purpose questionnaire survey conducted in 2018. We recruited potential participants from 164 inpatient palliative care units in Japan and assessed family functioning with the Family Relations Index (FRI). Family functioning was classified into three categories (Well-functioning: FRI ≥ 10, Intermediate: FRI = 8〜9, Dysfunctioning ≤ 7). The Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) and the Brief Grief Questionnaire (BGQ) were used to assess depression (PHQ-9 score ≥ 10) and complicated grief (BGQ score ≥ 8), respectively. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was performed with possible MDD and CG and factors the family functioning. Results: A total of 615 questionnaires were returned, of which 54.0 % (n = 510) age of questionnaires could be used. Although family functioning was associated with possible MDD (21.1% in Dysfunctional; 9.3% in Well-functional, P = 0.016), it was not associated with possible CG (14.8% in Dysfunctional; 9.9% in Well-functional, P = 0.929). Possible MDD and CG were significantly associated with deteriorated family relationships (OR:8.29; P = 0.004 and OR:34.00; P < 0.001, respectively), and consulting with health care providers about their concerns (OR:0.23; P = 0.003 and OR:0.23; P = 0.003, respectively). Conclusions: Family function was affected by post-bereavement possible MDD and not by CG. Our findings suggest that health care providers can identify risk factors for MDD among bereaved, dysfunctional family members.
- Family function
- Palliative care