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Publication Abstract

Authors: Ambs AH, Miller MF, Smith AW, Goldstein MS, Hsiao AF, Ballard-Barbash R

Title: Religious and spiritual practices and identification among individuals living with cancer and other chronic disease.

Journal: J Soc Integr Oncol 5(2):53-60

Date: 2007 Spring

Abstract: Religion and spirituality in the context of health care are poorly understood, particularly for individuals with chronic illness. Using data from the 2003 Complementary and Alternative Medicine supplement to the 2001 California Health Interview Survey, we examined whether cancer survivors (n = 1,777) and individuals with other chronic illnesses (n = 4,784) were either more likely to identify themselves as religious and spiritual or more likely to use religious and spiritual practices for health purposes than individuals with no disease (n = 2,342). We observed that cancer survivors and individuals with chronic illnesses were more likely than those with no disease to use religious and spiritual prayer and healing practices. Individuals with chronic diseases were not inherently more likely to identify themselves as religious than were healthy individuals and were only slightly more likely to identify themselves as spiritual. These findings indicate that individuals with cancer and other chronic illnesses may be using religious and spiritual practices as a way to cope with their illness. Future research should continue to examine whether and how religious and spiritual practices are used as complementary or alternative medicine, and health care professionals should ask their patients about such use.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013