Religion, spirituality, and physical health in cancer patients: A meta-analysis
Version of Record online: 10 AUG 2015
© 2015 American Cancer Society
Volume 121, Issue 21, pages 3760–3768, November 1, 2015
How to Cite
Jim, H. S. L., Pustejovsky, J. E., Park, C. L., Danhauer, S. C., Sherman, A. C., Fitchett, G., Merluzzi, T. V., Munoz, A. R., George, L., Snyder, M. A. and Salsman, J. M. (2015), Religion, spirituality, and physical health in cancer patients: A meta-analysis. Cancer, 121: 3760–3768. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29353
The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
- Issue online: 20 OCT 2015
- Version of Record online: 10 AUG 2015
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 FEB 2015
- Manuscript Revised: 21 JAN 2015
- Manuscript Received: 25 JUL 2014
- quality of life;
Although religion/spirituality (R/S) is important in its own right for many cancer patients, a large body of research has examined whether R/S is also associated with better physical health outcomes. This literature has been characterized by heterogeneity in sample composition, measures of R/S, and measures of physical health. In an effort to synthesize previous findings, a meta-analysis of the relation between R/S and patient-reported physical health in cancer patients was performed. A search of PubMed, PsycINFO, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and the Cochrane Library yielded 2073 abstracts, which were independently evaluated by pairs of raters. The meta-analysis was conducted for 497 effect sizes from 101 unique samples encompassing more than 32,000 adult cancer patients. R/S measures were categorized into affective, behavioral, cognitive, and ‘other’ dimensions. Physical health measures were categorized into physical well-being, functional well-being, and physical symptoms. Average estimated correlations (Fisher z scores) were calculated with generalized estimating equations with robust variance estimation. Overall R/S was associated with overall physical health (z = 0.153, P < .001); this relation was not moderated by sociodemographic or clinical variables. Affective R/S was associated with physical well-being (z = 0.167, P < .001), functional well-being (z = 0.343, P < .001), and physical symptoms (z = 0.282, P < .001). Cognitive R/S was associated with physical well-being (z = 0.079, P < .05) and functional well-being (z = 0.090, P < .01). ‘Other’ R/S was associated with functional well-being (z = 0.100, P < .05). In conclusion, the results of the current meta-analysis suggest that greater R/S is associated with better patient-reported physical health. These results underscore the importance of attending to patients' religious and spiritual needs as part of comprehensive cancer care. Cancer 2015;121:3760–3768. © 2015 American Cancer Society.