Special Issue "Spiritual Care for People with Cancer"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 January 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. A. (Anja) Visser
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 38, 9712 GK Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: spirituality; spiritual care; oncology; medical and health psychology

Special Issue Information

After decades of research there seems to be widespread agreement that religion and spirituality play a role in coping with cancer. Although relationships between religion/spirituality and indicators of quality of life or mental health are moderate to weak, there is little question that the diagnosis and treatment of cancer increase existential and spiritual needs and that these needs relate to how patients adjust to their experience. However, by what means do we address those needs? Who should address them? These questions are central to this Special Issue.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to bring together research on various spiritual care approaches that can be used in the oncology setting. Thus far, most research in this area has focused on patients with advanced stage cancer (Edwards, Pang, Shiu, & Chan, 2010; Henoch & Danielson, 2009; Kruizinga et al., 2016). Therefore, special consideration will be given to studies examining spiritual care among patients with early-stage cancer (stages 0–III) or who have chronic/returning types of cancer. Also of special interest are studies on multi- or interdisciplinary forms of spiritual care, which show the strengths of, and take advantage of, the subtle differences between approaches to religion and/or spirituality by various disciplines (e.g., psychologists, social workers, nurses, physicians, chaplains).

Dear Colleagues,

The diagnosis and treatment of cancer raise spiritual needs, that much is clear from decades of research on the relationship between religion/spirituality and mental health among cancer patients. However, by what means do we care for these needs? Who should address them (psychologists, nurses, social workers, chaplains, physicians, …)? In this Special Issue, I aim to bring together research on various effective approaches to spiritual care in the oncology setting. Most existing research involves mono-disciplinary types of spiritual care in patients with advanced cancer. Therefore, special consideration will be given to studies on spiritual care among people with early-stage or chronic/returning types of cancer and to studies on multi- or interdisciplinary forms of spiritual care.

Dr. A. (Anja) Visser
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cancer
  • oncology
  • spiritual care
  • mental health
  • religious/spiritual needs
  • chaplaincy

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to “Spiritual Care for People with Cancer”
Religions 2020, 11(4), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040186 - 13 Apr 2020
Viewed by 631
Abstract
There is little question that the diagnosis and treatment of cancer increase existential and spiritual needs and that these needs relate to how patients adjust to their experience. This Special Issue of Religions focusses on studies examining spiritual needs and spiritual care interventions [...] Read more.
There is little question that the diagnosis and treatment of cancer increase existential and spiritual needs and that these needs relate to how patients adjust to their experience. This Special Issue of Religions focusses on studies examining spiritual needs and spiritual care interventions among people with early-stage cancer (stages 0–III) or who have chronic/returning types of cancer. The spiritual care interventions discussed in this Special Issue involve multi- or interdisciplinary forms of spiritual care. Interestingly, all studies in this Special Issue emphasize the narrative and meaning-making dimension of spirituality. More research is needed on the relational and embodied dimensions of spirituality. The varied methodologies and disciplines applied in the studies of this Special Issue show the complexity and richness of spiritual care, which needs to be reflected in the organization of oncological care as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Transcending the Suffering in Cancer: Impact of a Spiritual Life Review Intervention on Spiritual Re-Evaluation, Spiritual Growth and Psycho-Spiritual Wellbeing
Religions 2020, 11(3), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030142 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
In the confrontation with cancer, spiritual re-evaluation may help people to transform all-encompassing suffering into spiritual growth and psycho-spiritual wellbeing. The aim of this study was to examine whether spiritual life review (SLR), a semi-structured group narrative intervention that supports people with cancer [...] Read more.
In the confrontation with cancer, spiritual re-evaluation may help people to transform all-encompassing suffering into spiritual growth and psycho-spiritual wellbeing. The aim of this study was to examine whether spiritual life review (SLR), a semi-structured group narrative intervention that supports people with cancer to write and present their spiritual life story, is effective for the improvement of spiritual re-evaluation, spiritual growth, and psycho-spiritual wellbeing. In this mixed methods study, 57 cancer patients participated. Quantitative data were collected by means of patient reported outcomes (SAIL, Dutch Ryff, and NEIS) at baseline, post-intervention, and three and nine months follow-up (44 participants completed up to 9 months post-intervention). Changes over time were assessed via linear mixed model analysis (LMM). Qualitative data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews with 33 participants nine months post-intervention, and were coded in a two-stage process. Participating in SLR facilitated spiritual re-evaluation, and improved the course of spiritual growth, psycho-spiritual wellbeing, and ego-integrity. This study provides evidence that SLR is likely to improve spiritual re-evaluation, spiritual growth, and psycho-spiritual wellbeing after confrontation with cancer; it also suggests the importance of self-affirmation and ego-integrity for spirituality; and underscores the relevance of narrative spiritual interventions in the oncology setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Emotional State of Parents of Children Diagnosed with Cancer: Examining Religious and Meaning-Focused Coping
Religions 2020, 11(3), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030132 - 16 Mar 2020
Viewed by 831
Abstract
For parents, a child’s oncological disease is a critical life event with a high burdening potential, which changes the functioning of the whole family on many different levels. It triggers various coping strategies with this situation, including religious-based coping. This topic has been [...] Read more.
For parents, a child’s oncological disease is a critical life event with a high burdening potential, which changes the functioning of the whole family on many different levels. It triggers various coping strategies with this situation, including religious-based coping. This topic has been somewhat rarely explored, and thus, the aim of the study was to examine the relationship between the emotional state and religious and meaning-focused coping among parents of children diagnosed with cancer. A total of 147 parents participated in this study. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that correlates of positive emotions in the studied group were the economic situation, the time from diagnosis, positive reappraisal and negative religious coping. Only one significant correlate of negative emotions was identified. There is some support for the incremental validity of negative religious coping in relation to meaning-focused coping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
Open AccessArticle
The Use of Bibliotherapy in Revealing and Addressing the Spiritual Needs of Cancer Patients
Religions 2020, 11(3), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030128 - 14 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Assessing and addressing spiritual needs is a key factor in the quality of life and overall wellbeing of cancer patients. However, the evolution and diversification of assessment tools has not automatically been followed by their successful implementation; thus, addressing unmet needs continues to [...] Read more.
Assessing and addressing spiritual needs is a key factor in the quality of life and overall wellbeing of cancer patients. However, the evolution and diversification of assessment tools has not automatically been followed by their successful implementation; thus, addressing unmet needs continues to be a concern. In this paper, we examine the place of bibliotherapy (also called reading therapy or poetry therapy) as a group intervention in the oncological setting in revealing spiritual needs. We show that it represents not only a useful intervention but may also provide instant relief and reduce spiritual suffering. Bibliotherapy understood and practiced as a subtle balance of texts and group processes alleviates cognitive and emotional symptoms of a spiritual concern and facilitates finding meaning in life in general and illness in particular. As an intervention, it is effective, affordable and attractive; moreover, it equips patients receiving treatment and rehabilitation with the lifelong skill of reflective reading. Bibliotherapy is easily tailored to almost any needs and promotes self-expression, which provides spiritual fulfillment in itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
Open AccessArticle
The Role of the Spiritual Meaning System in Coping with Cancer
Religions 2020, 11(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010049 - 19 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1012
Abstract
Spirituality can support the adjustment process of people with cancer, by forming a meaning system that supports understanding of the cause and implications of the experience and that provides coping strategies. The different ways in which spiritual meaning systems might fulfill these roles [...] Read more.
Spirituality can support the adjustment process of people with cancer, by forming a meaning system that supports understanding of the cause and implications of the experience and that provides coping strategies. The different ways in which spiritual meaning systems might fulfill these roles were examined among 20 people who were treated for cancer with curative intent. Narrative interviews were held on average 16 months after cancer diagnosis. The interviews were analyzed in a two-stage process, based on a holistic content approach. The first stage led to the identification of various roles and outcomes of the meaning system. The second stage involved a comparison of these roles and outcomes between previously defined types of meaning systems. The roles identified were discrepancy, legitimation and continuation. Legitimation was associated with the outcome of integration, whereas continuation was associated with an outcome of a positive outlook toward the future. Several differences were found between types of meaning systems, regarding the extent to which and ways in which these roles and outcomes occurred. This study underscores recommendations that healthcare professionals should be aware of the different ways in which the patient’s previous beliefs and experiences influence their current adaptation to serious life events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Meeting the Spiritual Care Needs of Emerging Adults with Cancer
Religions 2020, 11(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010016 - 28 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 843
Abstract
Every year 90,000 young people in Europe and the USA are newly diagnosed with cancer. The majority of earlier studies have taken a quantitative perspective, rarely focusing on the importance of religiosity and spirituality. From these premises, this narrative study explores the spiritual [...] Read more.
Every year 90,000 young people in Europe and the USA are newly diagnosed with cancer. The majority of earlier studies have taken a quantitative perspective, rarely focusing on the importance of religiosity and spirituality. From these premises, this narrative study explores the spiritual needs of emerging adults with cancer and suggests spiritual care practices that would benefit them in their shift to the remission stage. The data were obtained from the experiences of 16 emerging adults who took part in autobiographical interviews and drew life-tree drawings. Narrative-thematic and visual-narrative methods were used to interpret the data. The results show that spiritual needs manifest in multiple areas: existential questions, value-based searching, and religious seeking. Spiritual care should be targeted to issues such as identity, self-blame, understanding personal values, and relationship with God. Furthermore, family and partners should be supported and dreams of the future after cancer encouraged. The needs for spiritual care are manifold and these needs remain for years after the treatment ends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
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