Spiritual or religious struggle in hematopoietic cell transplant survivors
BACKGROUND: This study describes the prevalence of religious or spiritual (R/S) struggle in long-term survivors after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), demographic and medical correlates of R/S struggle, and its associations with depression and quality of life. METHODS: Data were collected in conjunction with an annual survey of adult (age ≥18 years) survivors of HCT. Study measures included R/S struggle (negative religious coping, NRC, from Brief RCOPE), measures of quality of life (subscales from 36-item Short Form Health Survey and McGill), and the Patient Health Questionnaire 8. R/S struggle was defined as any non-zero response on the NRC. Factors associated with R/S struggle were identified using multi-variable logistic regression models. RESULTS: The study analyzed data from 1449 respondents who ranged from 6 months to 40 years after HCT. Twenty-seven percent had some R/S struggle. In a multi-variable logistic regression model, R/S struggle was associated with greater depression and poorer quality of life. R/S struggle was also associated with younger age, non-White race, and self-identification as either religious but not spiritual or spiritual but not religious. R/S struggle was not associated with any medical variables, including time since transplant. CONCLUSIONS: Religious or spiritual struggle is common among HCT survivors, even many years after HCT. Survivors should be screened and, as indicated, referred to a professional with expertise in R/S struggle. Further study is needed to determine causal relationships, longitudinal trajectory, impact of struggle intensity, and effects of R/S struggle on health, mood, and social roles for HCT survivors.