Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes

The Meaning of Spirituality and Spiritual Well-Being among Thai Breast Cancer Patients: A Qualitative Study

CONTEXT: Spirituality is the essence of a human being. Patients who have good spiritual well-being (SWB) will also have better quality of life. However, health-care providers usually under-assess this aspect due to lack of practical guideline. In Thailand, the validated survey came from a different cultural background and was heavily based on Buddhism approach. AIMS: The aim of the study is to assess the meaning of spirituality and SWB in Thai breast cancer patients in Southern Thailand where people have more diverse cultural and religious background. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: Descriptive qualitative phenomenology design. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: In-depth interview with stratified purposive sampling method. The interviews took place in the oncology outpatient unit department and participants’ home. Inclusion criteria were being diagnosed with breast cancer, age over 18 years old, able to communicate in Thai, has a Palliative Performance Scale more than 50, and was not diagnosed with any psychological disorder. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: Descriptive statistic. RESULTS: From October 2016 to February 2018, 16 women joined the study. Three themes emerged with five subthemes: (1) feeling life worthwhile, (2) sense of belonging in the community, and (3) feeling connected to the nature. CONCLUSIONS: For Thai women, who have breast cancer, their spirituality focuses on family, mainly their children. They also have better SWB if they have good family relationship, social support, or feeling connected with nature or higher being in a religious or nonreligious way. Future survey design needs to be broader in a secular view and on another perspective rather than the religious approach.