Sources of hope in chronic illness

Oncol Nurs Forum. 1992 Apr;19(3):443-8.


Patients with many types of diagnosis find that hope is an important strategy in coping with their illness. One purpose of this study was to identify and explore the sources that patients with chronic illnesses report as being supportive of their hope. Another purpose was to determine if the sources differ between patients with cancer and patients with other chronic illnesses. A combination of Stotland's work on hope and Lazarus and Folkman's work on coping formed the conceptual framework for this study. Ninety patients, 45 with cancer and 45 with other chronic illnesses, were interviewed using an investigator-developed interview guide. Using chi-square and t-test analyses, no statistically significant differences were found between patients with cancer and patients with other chronic illnesses in any responses to the interview questions. The most commonly reported sources for supporting hopefulness were family, friends, and religious beliefs. Patients were able to identify specific ways in which these sources helped to support their hope. The majority of patients reported positive attitudes about their illnesses, with transient periods of lowered hope related to illness. They also described specific cognitive or behavioral strategies used for maintaining hope. The results of this study provide additional insight into the coping strategies of adults with a chronic illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease / nursing
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Morale*
  • Neoplasms / nursing
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires