Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 1460–1477 | Cite as

The Role of Spirituality in Lifestyle Changing Among Patients with Chronic Cardiovascular Diseases: A Literature Review of Qualitative Studies

  • A. J. Janssen-NiemeijerEmail author
  • M. Visse
  • R. Van Leeuwen
  • C. Leget
  • B. S. Cusveller
Original Paper


Chronic cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are diseases with marked morbidity. Patients are often advised to change their lifestyle to prevent complications and impairment of their diseases. Compliance, however, is influenced by multiple factors. Initial studies show that spirituality is an important aspect in health behavior and lifestyle changing, but to health professionals like nurses this is unknown. The aim of this review is to investigate and synthesize evidence about the role of spirituality in lifestyle changing in patients with chronic CVD. A comprehensive search was conducted in electronic databases Academic Search Premier, E-journals, Medline and PubMed, published between the years 2000–2015. After selection based on pre-set inclusion criteria, studies were retrieved and evaluated on quality using the criteria of the QOREC. Twelve studies with a qualitative empirical design and mixed methods were included. This review shows that spirituality, is related to the self-management of patients with chronic diseases. For instance, lifestyle changes are experienced as a continuous inner battle. Religion gives strength, but is also experienced as a struggle. Feelings of guilt and becoming a victim influence patients’ experience. For effectively advising patients with CVD on lifestyle changes, nurses cannot ignore this factor but further investigation is required.


Literature review Chronic cardiovascular diseases Self-management Life style changing Spirituality 



This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Author contributions

AJJ, MV, RL, BC and CL were responsible for the design and aims. AJJ performed the data collection, the data analysis and the drafting of the manuscript. MV, RL, BC and CL suggested critical revisions of the manuscript. MV, RL, BC and CL supervised the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

All Authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Applied Science VIAAZwolleThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Chair Care EthicsUniversity of Humanistic StudiesUtrechtThe Netherlands

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