Send to

Choose Destination
Support Care Cancer. 2011 Jun;19(6):757-64. doi: 10.1007/s00520-010-0871-4. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Spiritual well-being and health-related quality of life in colorectal cancer: a multi-site examination of the role of personal meaning.

Author information

Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, 625 North Michigan Ave., 27th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.



Individuals diagnosed and treated for cancer often report high levels of distress, continuing even after successful treatment. Spiritual well-being (SpWB) has been identified as an important factor associated with positive health outcomes. This study had two aims: (1) examine the associations between SpWB (faith and meaning/peace) and health-related quality of life (HRQL) outcomes and (2) examine competing hypotheses of whether the relationship among distress, SpWB, and HRQL is better explained by a stress-buffering (i.e., interaction) or a direct (main effects) model.


Study 1 consisted of 258 colorectal cancer survivors (57% men) recruited from comprehensive cancer centers in metropolitan areas (age, M=61; months post-diagnosis, M=17). Study 2 consisted of 568 colorectal cancer survivors (49% men) recruited from a regional cancer registry (age, M=67; months post-diagnosis, M=19). Participants completed measures of SpWB (functional assessment of chronic illness therapy-spiritual well-being (FACIT-Sp)) and HRQL (functional assessment of cancer therapy-colorectal) in both studies. Measures of general distress (profile of mood states-short form) and cancer-specific distress were also completed in study 1 and study 2, respectively.


After controlling for demographic and clinical variables, faith and meaning/peace were positively associated with HRQL. However, meaning/peace emerged as a more robust predictor of HRQL outcomes than faith. Planned analyses supported a direct rather than stress-buffering effect of meaning/peace.


This study provides further evidence of the importance of SpWB, particularly meaning/peace, to HRQL for people with colorectal cancer. Future studies of SpWB and cancer should examine domains of the FACIT-Sp separately and explore the viability of meaning-based interventions for cancer survivors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center