Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 17–32 | Cite as

The role of religion in heart-transplant recipients' long-term health and well-being

  • Ronna Casar Harris
  • Mary Amanda Dew
  • Ann Lee
  • Michael Amaya
  • Laurie Buches
  • Deborah Reetz
  • Greta Coleman
Article

Abstract

While religion has long been recognized clinically to provide important coping strategies in the face of serious health problems, there has been little systematic consideration of its role in organ transplant recipients' long-term reactions and adjustment to this experience. This study examines these issues through qualitative and quantitative evaluation of longitudinal data collected from 40 adult heart recipients followed during their first year post-transplant. Large proportions of recipients expressed strong beliefs and were able to increase religious participation over the 12-month study period. They delineated specific ways in which their faith had provided them support, as well as ways in which the transplant experience itself further strengthened their beliefs. We found empirical evidence that recipients with strong beliefs who participated in religious activities had better physical and emotional well-being, fewer health worries, and better medical compliance by the final 12-month assessment. The findings suggest the development of specific nursing, social-service, or pastoral-involvement strategies, continuing staff education about the role of religion in patient care. The implications of such interventions for maximizing quality of life in transplant recipients are discussed.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Chambers, L.W. (1984). The McMaster Health Index questionnaire. In N.K. Wenger, M.E. Mattson, C.D. Furberg, and J. Elinson, eds.,Assessment of quality of life in clinical trials of cardiovascular therapies. New York: LeJacq Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  2. Derogatis, R.L. (1983).SCL-90R administration, scoring and procedures manual-II, 2nd. ed. Towson, MD: Clinical Psychometrics Research.Google Scholar
  3. Dew, M.A., Simmons, R.G., Roth, L.H., Schulberg, H.C., Thompson, M.E., Armitage, J.M., and Griffith, B.P. (in press). “Psychosocial predictors of vulnerability to distress in the year following heart transplantation.”Psychological Medicine.Google Scholar
  4. Grieco, A. and Long, C.J. (1984). Investigation of the Karnofsky Performance Status as a measure of quality of life.Health Psychology, 3, 129–142.Google Scholar
  5. Hannay, D.R. (1980). Religion and health.Social Science in Medicine, 14A, 683–685.Google Scholar
  6. Johnson, S.J. and Spilka, B. (1991). Coping with breast cancer: The roles of clergy and faith.Journal of Religion and Health, 30, 21–33.Google Scholar
  7. Karnofsky, D.A. & Burchenal, J.H. (1949). The clinical evaluation of chemo-therapeutic agents in cancer. In C. M. MacLeod, ed.,Evaluation of Chemotherapeutic Agents, pp. 191–205. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Kirn, J.M. (1991). Religion and the health belief model.Journal of Religion and Health, 30, 321–329.Google Scholar
  9. Larson, D.B. and Larson, S.S. (1991). Religious commitment and health, valuing the relationship.Second Opinion, July, 1991.Google Scholar
  10. Levin, J.S. and Vanderpool, H.Y. (1989). Is religion therapeutically significant for hypertension?Social Science in Medicine, 29, 69–76.Google Scholar
  11. Levin, J.S. and Vanderpool, H.Y. (1987). Is frequent religious attendance really conducive to better health? Toward an epidemiology of religion.Social Science in Medicine, 24, 589–600.Google Scholar
  12. Lough, M.E. (1988). Quality of life for heart transplant recipients.Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2, 11–22.Google Scholar
  13. Meador, K.G., Koenig, H.G., Hughs, D.C., Blazer, D.G., Turnbull, J., and George, L.K. (1992). Religious affiliation and major depression.Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 43, 1204–1208.Google Scholar
  14. Muldoon, M.H. & King, J.N. (1991). A spirituality for the long haul: Response to chronic illness.Journal of Religion and Health, 30, 99–107.Google Scholar
  15. Nolan, B.D., and Spanos, N.P. (1989). Psychosocial variables associated with willingness to donate organs.Canadian Medical Association Journal, 142, 27–29.Google Scholar
  16. Rauch, J.D., and Kneen, K.K. (1989). Accepting the gift of life: Heart transplant recipients' post-operative adaptive tasks.Social Work in Health Care, 14, 47–59.Google Scholar
  17. Rosenberg, M. (1965).Society and the Adolescent Self-Image. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  18. Sears, S.F. Jr., and Greene, A.F. (1994). Religious coping and the threat of heart transplantation.Journal of Religion and Health, 33(3), 221–229.Google Scholar
  19. Shanteau, J. & Harris, R.J., eds. (1990).Organ donation and transplantation: psychological and behavioral factors. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  20. Sherrill, K.A. & Larson, D.B. (1988). Adult burn patients: The role of religion in recovery.Southern Medical Journal, 81, 821–825.Google Scholar
  21. Simmons, R.G., Marine, S.K., and Simmons, R.L. (1987).Gift of life: The effect of organ transplantation on individual, family, and societal dynamics. New Brunswick, CT: Transaction Books.Google Scholar
  22. Wakeford, R.E., and Stepny R. (1989) Obstacles to organ donation.British Journal of Surgery, 76, 435–439.Google Scholar
  23. Williams, D.R., Larson, D.B., Buckler, R.E., Heckmann, R.C., and Pyle, C.M. (1991). Religion and psychological distress in a community sample.Social Science in Medicine, 32, 1257–1262.Google Scholar
  24. York, G.Y. (1987). Religious-based denial in the NICU: Implications for social work.Social Work in Health Care, 12, 31–45.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Institutes of Religion and Health 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronna Casar Harris
    • 1
  • Mary Amanda Dew
    • 1
  • Ann Lee
    • 2
  • Michael Amaya
    • 2
  • Laurie Buches
    • 2
  • Deborah Reetz
    • 2
  • Greta Coleman
    • 2
  1. 1.the Department of Psychiatry and the Cardiothoracic Transplantation ProgramDepartment of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburgh
  2. 2.the U. of Pittsburgh Medical CenterUSA

Personalised recommendations