Background: Religious and spiritual aspects of quality of life (QOL) have not been fully assessed in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) treated with hemodialysis (HD), but psychosocial factors are associated with patient survival.
Methods: To investigate interrelationships between religious beliefs and psychosocial and medical factors, we studied 53 HD patients. Psychosocial and medical variables included perception of importance of faith (spirituality), attendance at religious services (religious involvement), the Beck Depression Inventory, Illness Effects Questionnaire, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, McGill QOL Questionnaire scores, Karnofsky scores, dialysis dose, and predialysis hemoglobin and albumin levels.
Results: Eighty-seven percent of participants were African-American. Men had higher depression scores, perceived lower social support, and had higher religious involvement scores than women. No other parameters differed between sexes. Perception of spirituality and religiosity did not correlate with age, Karnofsky score, dialysis dose, or hemoglobin or albumin level. Greater perception of spirituality and religiosity correlated with increased perception of social support and QOL and less negative perception of illness effects and depression. A one-question global QOL measure correlated with depression, life satisfaction, perception of burden of illness, social support, and satisfaction with nephrologist scores, but not with age or Karnofsky score.
Conclusion: Religious beliefs are related to perception of depression, illness effects, social support, and QOL independently of medical aspects of illness. Religious beliefs may act as coping mechanisms for patients with ESRD. The relationship between religious beliefs and clinical outcomes should be investigated further in patients with ESRD.
Copyright 2002 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.