Spontaneous Reports of Religious Coping by Patients with Chronic Physical Illness

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Individuals undergoing the stress of physical illness often report the use of religious coping activities. This study compared the frequency of spontaneous reports of religious coping in three groups of patients including those with cancer preparing for a bone marrow transplant (n = 22), chronic pain (n= 36), and cardiovascular disease (n = 53). Participants were asked to respond to a written, open-ended question asking how they were coping with the challenges involved in their medical condition. The question asked them to list the resources, strategies, strengths, or behaviors that they found most helpful. No mention of religion or religious coping was included with the question. Of the 111 participants surveyed, 26.1% included religious coping in their responses. The relative percentage of religious coping was calculated by dividing the total number of coping responses by number of religious responses. Mean percentage of religious coping was highest in participants preparing for a bone marrow transplant (22.9%), followed by the cardiac group (5.7%), and the chronic pain group (3.8%).



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