Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Spiritual Struggle: Effect on Quality of Life and Life Satisfaction in Women with Breast Cancer

Background: Women with breast cancer experience stressors affecting quality of life (QOL) and life satisfaction. Little is known about effects of spiritual struggle as a coping strategy on QOL and life satisfaction. Purpose: Examine relationships between spiritual struggle, QOL, and life satisfaction. Method: Nonprobablility sample of 100 participants recruited from an Internet Web site with mailed questionnaires. Three instruments were used: breast cancer-specific version of Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Scale (FACT-B), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual (FACIT-Sp-12) combined for QOL, Negative Coping subscale of Religious Coping (RCOPE) for spiritual struggle, and a single-item measuring life satisfaction. Findings: Small inverse relationships between spiritual struggle, QOL (r = –.36, p < .001), and life satisfaction (r = –.31, p <.001) existed. Conclusions: Spiritual struggle gives voice to women’s questionings implying lower QOL and life satisfaction. Implications: Assessment of and assistance with managing spiritual struggle are necessary to promote QOL and life satisfaction among those facing difficult health problems.