The role of religious and spiritual beliefs in coping with malignant melanoma

Psychooncology. 1999 Jan-Feb;8(1):14-26. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1611(199901/02)8:1<14::AID-PON321>3.0.CO;2-E.


This study investigated the role of spiritual and religious beliefs in ambulatory patients coping with malignant melanoma. One-hundred and seventeen patients with melanoma being seen in an outpatient clinic completed a battery of measurements including the newly validated Systems of Belief Inventory (SBI-54). No correlation was found between SBI-54 scores and levels of distress. However, there was a correlation between greater reliance on spiritual and religious beliefs and use of an active-cognitive coping style (r = 0.46, p < 0.0001). Data suggest that use of religious and spiritual beliefs is associated with an active rather than passive form of coping. We suggest that such beliefs provide a helpful active-cognitive framework for many individuals from which to face the existential crises of life-threatening illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Skin Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological