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Healthcare 2015, 3(4), 917-932;

Spiritual Pain in Meals on Wheels’ Clients

School of Nursing, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Tracey L. Yap and Melissa Batchelor-Murphy
Received: 2 July 2015 / Accepted: 28 September 2015 / Published: 10 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nursing Care of the Older Adult)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [139 KB, uploaded 10 October 2015]   |  


Background: Meals on Wheels’ clients are at risk for spiritual pain due to advanced age, social isolation, and failing health. They are also prone to stress, depression, and loneliness, placing them at risk for adverse biological disruptions and health outcomes. The purpose of the study was to examine associations of spiritual pain with psychosocial factors (stress, depression, loneliness, religious coping) and salivary biomarkers of stress and inflammation (cortisol, IL-1β) in Meals on Wheels’ clients. Methods: Data were collected cross-sectionally from 88 elderly (mean age 75.4). Spiritual pain, stress, depression, loneliness, and religious coping were measured with standardized instruments, and salivary biomarkers were assessed with enzyme immunoassays. Results: Spiritual pain was significantly and positively correlated with stress (r = 0.35, p ≤ 0.001), depression (r = 0.27, p = 0.01), and negative religious coping (r = 0.27, p = 0.01). Correlations with loneliness, positive religious coping, and salivary biomarkers were non-significant. Conclusion: Spiritual pain is an important concept in this population. Research should be expanded to understand the significance of spiritual pain in conjunction with psychosocial and biological variables and its potential impact on physical, mental, and cognitive health outcomes in the elderly. View Full-Text
Keywords: spiritual pain; aging; biobehavioral; stress; depression; loneliness; salivary biomarkers spiritual pain; aging; biobehavioral; stress; depression; loneliness; salivary biomarkers

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Boss, L.; Branson, S.; Cron, S.; Kang, D.-H. Spiritual Pain in Meals on Wheels’ Clients. Healthcare 2015, 3, 917-932.

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