The benefits of prayer on mood and well-being of breast cancer survivors
- 788 Downloads
Prayer is becoming more widely acknowledged as a way to cope with cancer. The goal of this study was to compare differences in use of prayer between breast cancer survivors from different ethnic groups and examine how use of prayer is related to mood and quality of life.
This study used a mixed methods design. One hundred and seventy-five breast cancer survivors participated in a longitudinal study of survivorship. Women completed in-depth qualitative interviews and a battery of measures including quality of life, spirituality, social support, and mood.
Eighty-one percent of the women prayed. There were no significant differences between the groups for any of the psychological, social support, or quality of life variables with the exception of higher benefit finding and spiritual well-being among those who prayed. The data did show that women who prayed were able to find more positive contributions from their cancer experience than women who did not pray. The interviews showed that those who prayed tended to be African American or Asian, Catholic or Protestant. The prayers were for petitioning, comfort, or praise. Some of the women stated that they had difficulty praying for themselves.
While there seems to be few differences in terms of standardized measures of quality of life, social support, and mood between those who prayed and those who did not, the interviews showed that certain ethnic minority groups seem to find more comfort in prayer, felt closer to God, and felt more compassion and forgiveness than Caucasian women.
KeywordsPrayer Spirituality Breast cancer Ethnic differences Quality of life Psychological
This research was supported by a Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) grant 5 P20 MD000544-02 from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, to San Francisco State University. The authors would like to acknowledge the help of our research assistants: Yaffa Alter, Heather Law, Erin McCoy, Ana Freire, Mariaelena Gonzalez, Regina Lagman, Mabel Lam, Beverly Lynn, Sann Situ, Chris Van Onselen, Jacqueline Bishop, Shelley Volz, Ivy Wong, Gloria Boehm, Tina Chan, Julie Armin, Ann Gilliard, Qiu Chen, Sachiko Reed, and Laureen Hom.
- 3.Antoni MH, Lehman JM, Kilbourn KM, Boyers AE, Culver JL, Alferi SM, Yount SE, McGregor BA, Arena PL, Harris SD, Price AA, Carver CS (2001) Cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention decreases the prevalence of depression and enhances benefit finding among women under treatment for early-stage breast cancer. Health Psychol 20:20–32PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 5.Ashing-Giwa KT, Padilla G, Tejero J, Kraemer J, Wright K, Coscarelli A, Clayton S, Williams I, Hills D (2004) Understanding the breast cancer experience of women: a qualitative study of African American, Asian American, Latina and Caucasian cancer survivors. Psychooncology 13:408–428PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 6.Barnes PM, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin RL (2004) Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults: United States, 2002. Adv Data Vital Health Stat 343:1–19Google Scholar
- 7.Benson H (1996) Timeless healing: the power of biology and belief. Scribner, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 10.Cella DF (1997) Manual: functional assessment of chronic illness therapy (FACIT) Scales. Center on outcomes, research, and education. Evanston Northwestern Healthcare and Northwestern University, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- 13.Cohen S, Mermelstein R, Kamarck T, Hoberman H (1985) Measuring the functional components of social support. In: Sarason IG, Sarason BR (eds) Social support: theory, research and application. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands, pp 73–94Google Scholar
- 15.Creswell JW (1994) Research design: qualitative and quantitative approaches. Sage Publications, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
- 16.Earhart HB (2002) Structures of the Christian life. In: Earhart HB (ed) Religious traditions of the World. HarperCollins, San Francisco, p 537Google Scholar
- 28.Kearney MH (1999) Understanding women’s recovery from illness and trauma. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
- 30.Levine EG (2001) Jewish perspectives on illness and healing. Rutledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 36.Mathison S (1998) Why triangulate? Educ Res 17:13–17Google Scholar
- 38.McNair DM, Lorr M, Droppleman LF (1981) Profile of mood states, 2nd edn. Educational and Industrial Testing Service, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
- 40.Montbriand M (1993) Freedom of choice: an issue concerning alternative therapies chosen by patients with cancer. Onc Nurs Forum 20:1195–1201Google Scholar
- 47.Strauss AL (1987) Qualitative analysis for social scientists. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- 50.VandeCreek L, Rogers E, Lester J (1999) Use of alternative therapies among breast cancer outpatients compared with the general population. Alt Ther 5:71–76Google Scholar