Belief in an afterlife, spiritual well-being and end-of-life despair in patients with advanced cancer Journal Article


Authors: McClain-Jacobson, C.; Rosenfeld, B.; Kosinski, A.; Pessin, H.; Cimino, J. E.; Breitbart, W.
Article Title: Belief in an afterlife, spiritual well-being and end-of-life despair in patients with advanced cancer
Abstract: Despite the plethora of research linking spirituality, religiosity and psychological well-being among people living with medical illnesses, the role of afterlife beliefs on psychological functioning has been virtually ignored. The present investigation assessed afterlife beliefs, spiritual well-being and psychological functioning at the end of life among 276 terminally ill cancer patients. Results indicated that belief in an afterlife was associated with lower levels of end-of-life despair (desire for death, hopelessness and suicidal ideation) but was not associated with levels of depression or anxiety. Further analyses indicated that when spirituality levels were controlled for, the effect of afterlife beliefs disappeared. The authors concluded that spirituality has a much more powerful effect on psychological functioning than beliefs held about an afterlife. Treatment implications are discussed. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: adult; controlled study; aged; middle aged; major clinical study; advanced cancer; cancer patient; neoplasms; palliative care; quality of life; psychological aspect; adaptation, psychological; depression; death; suicide; anxiety; terminal care; religion; spirituality; wellbeing; attitude to death; hopelessness; terminal disease; personality assessment; cancer; humans; human; male; female; article; afterlife; religion and psychology
Journal Title: General Hospital Psychiatry
Volume: 26
Issue: 6
ISSN: 0163-8343
Publisher: Elsevier Science, Inc.  
Date Published: 2004-11-01
Start Page: 484
End Page: 486
Language: English
DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2004.08.002
PROVIDER: scopus
PUBMED: 15567216
DOI/URL:
Notes: Gen. Hosp. Psychiatry -- Cited By (since 1996):48 -- Export Date: 16 June 2014 -- CODEN: GHPSD -- Source: Scopus
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MSK Authors
  1. William S Breitbart
    346 Breitbart
  2. Hayley Ann Pessin
    70 Pessin