Spirituality and its association with psychological distress in cancer patients attending a tertiary care hospital in Bangalore, India

Vidya D. C., Sundarnag Ganjekar, Shalini C. N., Harish K., Murthy N. S.


Background: Psychological distress which is under diagnosed most of the times is common in cancer patients.This may have an effect on quality of life and survival time. Spirituality predetermines the individual responses to life experiences. There are also studies which have shown that spirituality can overcome psychological distress.  Hence, this study was conducted with an objective to assess the association of spirituality and psychological distress among cancer patients attending a tertiary hospital in Bangalore.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted between March 2014 and August 2014 in the Surgical Oncology Department of M S Ramaiah Hospital, Bangalore. After obtaining a written informed consent, a pretested semi-structured questionnaire, consisting of Hospital anxiety and depression scale, Spirituality Involvement and belief scale along with socio-demographic details, was administered to 84 newly diagnosed, hospital admitted cancer patients. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 18.

Results: The present study revealed that the mean age of study subjects was 52.7 years (SD 11.54). The median spirituality, depression and anxiety scores were 57 (IQR 49-115.5), 13.5 (IQR 7-16) and 5 (IQR 2.25-7.75) respectively. It was observed that there was a statistically significant negative correlation of spirituality with depression (Correlation coefficient r= - 0.833, P=0.01) and anxiety (correlation coefficient r= -0.631, P=0.01).

Conclusions: An inverse association between spirituality and psychological distress amongst cancer patients revealed a possibility that spirituality may help in the control of psychological distress. 


Anxiety, Cancer, Depression, Spirituality

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