The relationship between hope and pain in a sample of hospitalized oncology patients

Palliat Support Care. 2008 Dec;6(4):327-34. doi: 10.1017/S1478951508000527.


Objective: The aims of this study were to describe hope in a sample of hospitalized oncology patients in pain and to determine if various demographic, clinical, and pain characteristics were related to hope. In addition, the individual item and total Herth Hope Index (HHI) scores for these oncology inpatients with pain were compared with those from the general Norwegian population.

Method: Oncology inpatients in pain (n = 225) were recruited from the Norwegian Radium Hospital. The research instruments included the HHI, the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson's correlations, and one-sample t tests.

Results: Total HHI scores in oncology inpatients with pain were comparable to a similar sample in Taiwan. The Norwegian oncology inpatients reported significantly higher total HHI scores than the general Norwegian population. The largest difference was on the item "I feel scared about my future." No relationships were found between total HHI scores and any of the pain intensity scores. Significant relationships were found between total HHI scores and the more psychosocial interference items on BPI and sleep.

Significance of results: The higher levels of hope in the oncology inpatients with pain compared with the general Norwegian population may reflect a "response shift" in the patients' evaluation of hope. Although the difference is relatively small, it may represent a clinically meaningful difference. The fact that significant relationships were found between HHI scores and the more psychosocial interference scores on BPI suggest that hope may be more related to psychosocial effects on pain than on its physical effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Death
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Faith Healing / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology*
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Palliative Care
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Terminally Ill / psychology*