BACKGROUND: It is expected that the number of families who provide caregiving for hospice patients will be increased in this society. Family caregiver will have fi nancial, psychological, social burden and stress related to this responsibility. Hospice patients, facing death, need not only biomedical therapy, but also systematic and continuous treatments such as mental or psycho-social intervention. The purpose of this study was to investigate the family caregiver's depression level and the associated factors. METHODS: The survey was conducted with 62 family caregivers of the hospice patients who had been hospitalized at the Gwangju Veterans Hospital from December 2005 to May 2006. The questionnaire consisted of the general characteristics of the subjects, Beck's depression inventory (BDI) evaluating the depression level and family APGAR score evaluating the family function. RESULTS: The mean age of the subjects was 58.2 years. The relationship with patients as 'spouse' accounted for 42 individuals (67.7%). The mean (+/- SD) BDI score was 25.3 (+/- 10.1) points and 58 percent of the subjects were suggested to have depression tendency (> or = 21 point). There was no relationship between the caregiver's depression level and their gender, religion, household income and Family APGAR score. However, the depression level was signifi cant related to the total caregiving duration (P = 0.001), visiting frequency of visitors (P = 0.004) and caregiving hours per day (P = 0.005). CONCLUSION: More than half of the family caregivers were suggested to have depression tendency. The depression level was infl uenced by the burden of caregiving and the visiting frequency of visitors. There is a need to activate social resources to share the burden of caregiving and to develop continuous and comprehensive care for hospice patients and their families.