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Death Stud. 2003 Dec;27(10):881-99.

Religiosity and the challenge of terminal illness.

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  • 1Centre for Social Science Research, School of Nursing and Health, Central Queensland University, North Rockhampton Qld 4702, Australia. p.mcgrath@cqu.edu.au

Abstract

One of the assumptions that underpins the literature on spirituality is the belief that facing a terminal illness is a life crisis that intensifies the search for meaning, leaving individuals predisposed to embrace religion. To date, however, there is scant empirical research on the topic. This article seeks to make a contribution to this topic by reporting findings from a qualitative study that address the question of whether individuals embrace religious beliefs when faced with the challenge of a serious illness. The data were gathered from open-ended interviews with 14 hospice patients, audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed. The findings indicate the majority did not seek religious comfort or conversion as a response to the challenge of terminal illness, even when this was seen as desirable. Although participants were not actively inspired to be religious as a result of their illness, they did hold a number of spiritual perspectives that were actively at play.

PMID:
14610778
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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