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Adaptive Coping and Spirituality as a Resource in Cancer PatientsBüssing A. · Ostermann T. · Matthiessen P.F.
Arbeitsgruppe Spiritualität und Krankheitsumgang, Lehrstuhl für Medizintheorie und Komplementärmedizin, Universität Witten/Herdecke, Germany
Aim: We intended to clarify which strategies to control their diseases were utilized by patients with chronic diseases and whether they are convinced that spirituality/religiosity (SpR) may offer some beneficial effects. Patients and Methods: We investigated elderly German insurants and outpatients with chronic diseases with the SpREUK and AKU questionnaires. Results: Patients with chronic diseases relied on adaptive coping styles which refer to both external help (Trust in Medical Help, Search for Alternative Help, Trust in God’s Help) and internal powers/ virtues (Conscious and Healthy Living, Perspectives and Positive Attitudes). Reappraisal (Illness as Chance) was strongly connected with Trust in God’s Help, which was of relevance particularly for female cancer patients. Compared to patients with other chronic diseases, cancer patients were significantly more in Search for Meaningful Support, had Trust in Higher Source and a Positive Interpretation of Disease. Women with breast cancer had significantly higher interest in Search for Meaningful Support and Positive Interpretation than patients with prostate cancer. The SpR attitudes and convictions were significantly influenced by gender, SpR self-categorization, and educational level. Conclusion: Particularly women with breast cancer refer to SpR issues and existential practices in order to better cope with their illness. In medical context, however, these needs are often neither recognized nor addressed.