Background: For patients confronting a life-threatening illness such as advanced cancer, religious coping can be an important factor influencing their quality of life (QOL).
Objective: The study's main purpose was to examine the association between religious coping and QOL among 170 patients with advanced cancer. Both positive religious coping (e.g., benevolent religious appraisals) and negative religious coping (e.g., anger at God) and multiple dimensions of QOL (physical, physical symptom, psychological, existential, and support) were studied.
Design: Structured interviews were conducted with 170 patients recruited as part of an ongoing multi-institutional longitudinal evaluation of the prevalence of mental illness and patterns of mental health service utilization in advanced cancer patients and their primary informal caregivers.
Measurements: Patients completed measures of QOL (McGill QOL questionnaire), religious coping (Brief Measure of Religious Coping [RCOPE] and Multidimensional Measure of Religion/ Spirituality), self-efficacy (General Self-Efficacy Scale), and sociodemographic variables.
Results: Linear regression analyses revealed that after controlling for sociodemographic variables, lifetime history of depression and self-efficacy, greater use of positive religious coping was associated with better overall QOL as well as higher scores on the existential and support QOL dimensions. Greater use of positive religious coping was also related to more physical symptoms. In contrast, greater use of negative religious coping was related to poorer overall QOL and lower scores on the existential and psychological QOL dimensions.
Conclusions: Findings show that religious coping plays an important role for the QOL of patients and the types of religious coping strategies used are related to better or poorer QOL.