Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Spiritual Quests of Cancer Patients
by Motenko, Jill Swartwout, Psy.D., Antioch University, 2012, 80; 10807645
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative research study explored the spiritual worldview and spiritual seeking process of individuals with cancer from the point of pre-cancer diagnosis to 10-36 months post-cancer diagnosis as perceived by them retrospectively. The study was grounded in a constructivist ontology and epistemology and the conceptual framework was based on the “biopsychosocialspiritual” model developed by Barnum (1998) and Sulmasy (2002), and Wilber’s (1996) model of the four quadrants of human consciousness. A single semi-structured telephone interview was conducted with five adults who had received a cancer diagnosis 10-36 months earlier. Participants were asked to characterize their spiritual beliefs and experiences throughout their disease trajectory, to identify the sources that contributed to their beliefs, and to characterize any changes in beliefs that occurred. Participants were also asked their opinion on the role of healthcare providers in the spiritual lives of cancer patients. The study utilized Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to examine participants’ spiritual meaningmaking experiences. There were two overarching themes that emerged within the sample: (a) Spiritual coping (b) Finding spiritual meaning for one’s illness and/or healing. Subthemes included cancer as a gift, the validation or strengthening of spiritual beliefs, and coping with existential concerns. Participants’ attitudes about the role of healthcare providers produced two general themes: (a) Acknowledgement of spiritual beliefs is important to those who value spirituality in their lives (b) The role of spirituality in healthcare is difficult to navigate. The results of this study suggest further inquiry into the development of educational programming related to the spiritual domain of care as it pertains to spiritual needs assessment and spiritual support. The clinical implications of this study include the importance of healthcare providers taking a brief spiritual inventory and being trained in the spiritual dimension of health, the need for assessing patients’ spiritual needs at significant treatment junctures, and honoring, respecting and acknowledging a patients’ spirituality as part of a person-centered approach to care.

Indexing (document details)
Commitee: Ellenhorn, Theodore, Slammon, William, Smith, Colborn
School: Antioch University
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Clinical psychology, Spirituality, Health care management
Keywords: Cancer, Healthcare
Publication Number: 10807645
ISBN: 978-0-355-84255-5
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