Objective: To examine: (1) daily religious and spiritual experiences among localized prostate cancer patients as compared to a national age and race-matched male sample; (2) cognitive-affective and clinical predictors of prostate cancer diagnosis-related increases in religiosity and spirituality; (3) short-term impact of daily religious and spiritual experiences on cancer recurrence worry.
Methods: Analyses of data from a longitudinal questionnaire study among patients (N = 254) diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and data from a random sample (N = 238) of respondents to the national General Social Survey.
Results: Compared to the national sample, prostate cancer patients reported higher levels of daily spiritual experiences. Patients with higher worry about prostate cancer and elevated levels of prostate-related symptoms around diagnosis were more likely to report a diagnosis-related increase in religiosity and spirituality. Positive benefits (reduced recurrence worry) of religious coping/practices were restricted to those patients with higher versus lower level of postdiagnosis increase in religiosity; patients not reporting postdiagnosis increases in religion who are not engaging in religious coping/practice adjusted equally well. Results suggest that the development of religious/spiritual interventions is premature.
Significance of results: This is the first prospective study to report on the prevalence and influence of daily spiritual and religious experiences among prostate cancer patients.