Reliance on God's help, depression and fatigue in female cancer patients

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2008;38(3):357-72. doi: 10.2190/PM.38.3.j.


Objective: Because an increasing number of studies indicate that a religious attitude is associated with lower depression, we intended to investigate the interrelationship between intrinsic religiosity and depressive behavioral symptoms in cancer patients with long-term courses.

Method: In 396 female cancer patients recruited in East-Germany, intrinsic religiosity was measured with the scale Reliance on God's Help (RGH) from the AKU questionnaire; anxiety and depression with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; fatigue with the cancer fatigue scale (CFS-D); physical and mental health with the SF-12; adaptive coping styles and ESCAPE from illness with the AKU; and life satisfaction with a modification of Huebner's Brief Multidimensional Students' Life Satisfaction Scale.

Results: Moderate depression-associated fatigue was prevalent in cancer patients with long term-cancer courses, while depression and anxiety were of minor prevalence. RGH, which was valued by several patients, correlated with Reappraisal: Illness as Chance; with life satisfaction dimensions such as future perspectives, overall life, and financial situation; to a small extend with Escape from Illness; and negatively with mental health. No significant correlations were found with respect to depression, anxiety, or fatigue.

Conclusions: In contrast to cancer patients in final stages, cancer patients with long-term courses had just a moderate reliance on external divine powers. The addressed depressive behavioral symptoms were connected with internal adaptive coping styles such as Conscious Living/Positive Attitudes rather than intrinsic religiosity in response to disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Existentialism / psychology
  • Fatigue / diagnosis*
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Germany, East / epidemiology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Mental Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Mental Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Mental Fatigue / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires