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Health Psychol. 2005 Mar;24(2):225-9.

Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


This study examines the possibility that volunteer support can influence how long terminally ill patients survive. Hospice patient files (N = 290) were coded for marital status and volunteer support condition, respectively, the latter on the basis of whether visits from volunteers were requested and received (n = 94), requested but not received (n = 28), or neither requested nor received (n = 168). Baseline health, disease type, and demographic dimensions were comparable across support conditions. Results indicated that when a baseline health status effect was controlled for (p<.0002), patients in the volunteer support condition survived significantly longer than did patients in either unvisited condition (p<.0001). Neither marital status nor gender independently predicted survival time.

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