Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 225–231 | Cite as

Life review interviews on the spiritual well-being of terminally ill cancer patients

Short Communication



The aims of this study were (1) to evaluate the treatment efficacy of life review interviews on the spiritual well-being of terminally ill cancer patients, and (2) to explore any differences in the responses of patients who obtained clinical benefits and those who did not.

Materials and methods

Structured life review interviews were conducted with 12 patients in a palliative care unit in Japan. They completed the SELT-M (Skalen zur Erfassung von Lebens qualitat bei Tumorkranken–Modified Version) questionnaire before and after the interviews. The patients were classified into two groups: effective (patients who showed an increase in the SELT-M scores after the intervention) and noneffective groups. Meaningful spoken sentences from the patients’ life reviews were transcribed and correspondence analysis was conducted on the sentences using text mining software.


The mean overall QOL score and spirituality subscale score of the SELT-M significantly increased after the life reviews from 2.57±0.61 to 3.58±1.0 (P=0.013) and 2.57±0.61 to 3.14±2.25 (P=0.023), respectively. Three dimensions were extracted from the effective group based on the scores “Positive view of life,” “Pleasure in daily activities and good human relationships,” and “Balanced evaluation of life.” Similarly, three dimensions were extracted from the noneffective group: “Worries about future caused by disease,” “Conflicts in family relationship problems,” and “Confrontation of practical problems.”


Life review interviews may be effective in improving the spiritual well-being of terminally ill cancer patients. The potential predictors of treatment success are “positive view of life,” “pleasure in daily activities and good human relationships,” and a “balanced evaluation of life,” while those of treatment failure are “worries about future caused by disease,” “conflicts in family relationships,” and “confrontation of practical problems.” Further intervention trials on patients with predictors of treatment success are promising.


Psychotherapy Life review Terminally patients Text mining Spiritual well-being 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of NursingSt. Mary’s CollegeKurume, FukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of LiteratureKurume UniversityFukuoka-kenJapan
  3. 3.Department of Palliative and Supportive Care, Palliative Care Team, and Seirei HospiceSeirei Mikatahara General HospitalHamamatsuJapan

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