The use of multidimensional scales for assessing fear of death among nursing students can assist in teaching and evaluating the effectiveness of targeted training in thanatology. Research has demonstrated good psychometric characteristics of the Czech version of the Collett–Lester Fear of Death Scale (CL-FODS). It was applied to nursing students (N = 256), who reported as their biggest fear the process of their own dying. Greater fear of death and dying was found in students who had no experience of the dying and death of a loved one. Good internal consistency was achieved for the four subscales of the Czech CL-FODS.
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate attitudes of New Zealanders toward death and dying. We administered an online version of Collett–Lester Fear of Death Scale and Concerns about Dying Instrument subscales to a representative sample of the New Zealand population. One thousand one people responded to the survey, where the largest age-group lay between 30 and 39 years. Respondents with strong religious beliefs showed strongest agreement to being anxious about their own death compared to those who have no religious beliefs (p = .0005). Conversely, participants with strong spiritual beliefs did not feel anxious about dying (=.0005). Participants with strong family connections believed their religion/spirituality helped them think about death compared to those with weak family connections (p > .0001). Our findings show that strong religious beliefs significantly predict higher levels of death anxiety compared to participants with strong spiritual beliefs. This is probably due to the cultural identity of those sampled.
Palliative care (PC) providers often prescribe psychotropic medications to address psychological and physical suffering of patients with serious medical illness. Consideration must be given to the significant medical comorbidities of the patients with serious medical illness. This article seeks to provide guidance on how to safety and effectively select a psychotropic agent for depression, anxiety, and other distressing symptoms for patients with serious illness. To do so, we draw upon a team of physicians and a pharmacist with training in psychiatric and PC to highlight the "Top 10" tips for selecting a psychotropic medication to provide relief for patients with serious medical illness.
BACKGROUND: This study prospectively evaluated distress, depressive and anxiety symptoms as well as associated factors in family caregivers (FC) of advanced cancer patients at initiation of specialist inpatient palliative care.
METHODS: Within 72 h after the patient's first admission, FCs were asked to complete German versions of the Distress Thermometer, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7), Patient Health Questionnaire depression module 9-item scale (PHQ-9) for outcome measure. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to identify associated factors.
RESULTS: In 232 FCs (62% spouses/partners), mean level of distress was 7.9 (SD 1.8; range, 2-10) with 95% presenting clinically relevant distress levels. Most frequent problems were sadness (91%), sorrows (90%), anxiety (78%), exhaustion (77%) and sleep disturbances (73%). Prevalence rates of moderate to severe anxiety and depressive symptoms were 47 and 39%, respectively. Only 25% of FCs had used at least one source of support previously. In multivariate regression analysis, being female (OR 2.525), spouse/partner (OR 2.714), exhaustion (OR 10.267), and worse palliative care outcome ratings (OR 1.084) increased the likelihood for moderate to severe anxiety symptom levels. Being female (OR 3.302), low socio-economic status (OR 6.772), prior patient care other than home-based care (OR 0.399), exhaustion (OR 3.068), sleep disturbances (OR 4.183), and worse palliative care outcome ratings (OR 1.100) were associated with moderate to severe depressive symptom levels.
CONCLUSIONS: FCs of patients presenting with indication for specialist palliative care suffer from high distress and relevant depressive and anxiety symptoms, indicating the high need of psychological support not only for patients, but also their FCs. Several socio-demographic and care-related risk-factors influence mental burden of FCs and should be in professional caregivers' focus in daily clinical practice.
This study investigates whether frequently witnessing death leads to desensitization in terms of death anxiety. A total of 163 individuals, comprising 71 doctors from branches with high death rates and 92 doctors from branches where mortality is rarely seen, participated in this study. An experiment was conducted employing a classical version of mortality salience manipulation, which is often used in terror management research, to test the study’s hypothesis. The results supported the hypothesis only with regard to altruism-egoism, providing partial support for the effect of desensitization. This subject needs to be studied further.
The aim of this research is to investigate death anxiety of the people who live in Turkey and Denmark and have the same cultural background. Cross-cultural studies about death anxiety have been conducted within two different cultures. The goal is to fill the gap in the literature. In this context, participants’ self-esteem and personality traits were also investigated. Death Anxiety Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and The Big Five Inventory were used in this study. Seventy-four people from Turkey and 67 from Denmark participated in this research. According to the results, people who live in Turkey have more death anxiety. There is negative correlation between self-esteem and death anxiety. Neuroticism of the personality traits has positive correlation with death anxiety.
Background: Parenting a child with a serious life-threatening illness (SLTI) may impact parents' mental health. The protective association of social support with anxiety over time following an acute medical event has not been empirically tested in a sample of parents of children with oncologic and nononcologic serious illnesses.
Objective: To test the potential association of perceived social support with anxiety in parents of children with SLTIs over time.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Two hundred parents of 158 children in the Decision Making in Serious Pediatric Illness study, conducted at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Measurements: Parental anxiety and perceived social support were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Social Provisions Scale (SPS). We performed bivariate linear regressions to test cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between the SPS and anxiety scores at baseline, 12 months, and 24 months.
Results: The average SPS total and subscale scores decreased significantly from baseline to 12 months, and increased from 12 to 24 months. The average HADS-Anxiety scores decreased significantly from baseline to 12 months, and remained stable at 24 months. Cross-sectionally, total SPS scores were negatively associated with anxiety scores at each time point. Longitudinally, SPS scores were associated with anxiety scores, although this association weakened in adjusted modeling.
Conclusions: Over a two-year period, higher levels of perceived social support were associated with lower levels of anxiety in parents of seriously ill children. Clinicians and researchers should work to optimize social support for families to improve parental mental health outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate prevalence and predictors of postloss distress, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and quality of life among bereaved family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer.
METHODS: Prospective multicenter study. Family caregivers (N = 160, mean age 56.8 years, 66% female) completed validated outcome measures (Distress Thermometer, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale, Patient Health Questionnaire depression module 9-item scale, SF-8 Health Survey Questionnaire) 6 months after patient's discharge or death at specialist inpatient palliative care ward.
RESULTS: Clinically relevant distress was observed in 82% with sadness (89%), exhaustion (74%), sleeping problems (68%), loneliness (53%), and sorrows (52%) being the most common distress-causing problems. Moderate/severe anxiety and depressive symptoms were observed in 27% and 35%, respectively. Compared to an adjusted norm sample, quality of life was significantly impaired with exception of "bodily pain" and physical component score. Preloss caregiving (odds ratio [OR] 2.195) and higher preloss distress (OR 1.345) predicted high postloss distress. Utilization of psychosocial support services (OR 2.936) and higher preloss anxiety symptoms (OR 1.292) predicted moderate/severe anxiety symptoms, lower preloss physical quality of life (OR 0.952), and higher preloss depressive symptoms (OR 1.115) predicted moderate/severe depressive symptoms.
CONCLUSION: Preloss mental burden showed to be a consistent predictor for postloss burden and should be addressed during palliative care. Future research should examine specific caregiver-directed interventions during specialist palliative care.
Stress is a commonly reported concern of individuals with chronical diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). This study sought to investigate the relationships between self-transcendence, death anxiety, and perceived stress among individuals with MS from Iran. A second aim of the study was to assess the buffering effect of self-transcendence in the relationship between death anxiety and perceived stress. Two hundred and fifteen participants with MS from four hospitals completed measures assessing self-transcendence, death anxiety, and perceived stress. Using structural equation modeling, death anxiety was found to be positively related to perceived stress. In addition, there was a negative relationship between self-transcendence and perceived stress. Results of the study suggest that self-transcendence is a buffer in the link between death anxiety and perceived stress for individuals with MS. The findings demonstrate the importance of self-transcendence in decreasing the effects of death anxiety on perceived stress and have clinical implications for health professionals.
Context: This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of an advance directive (AD) at the time of starting first-line palliative chemotherapy. We investigated changes in emotional distress, quality of life (QoL), and attitudes toward anticancer treatments between before and after AD.
Methods: Patients with advanced cancer who had just started palliative chemotherapy were prospectively enrolled. We assessed attitudes toward chemotherapy, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC-QLQ) before conducting the AD and subsequently performed the AD after the first cycle of chemotherapy. Follow-up evaluations using same parameters were performed in the next cycle visit.
Results: During the study period, 104 patients started palliative chemotherapy. Among them, 41 patients (11 with cognitive impairment at baseline, 14 with clinical deteriorations after the first cycle of chemotherapy, 6 with follow-up loss, 7 without proxy, 3 with protocol violations) were excluded, and the AD were recommended in the remaining 64 patients (proportion of AD recommendation: 62%). Among the 64 patients, 44 agreed to conduct the AD (proportion of AD consent: 69%). There were no significant changes before and after AD in terms of HADS and EORTC-QLQ. Attitudes regarding chemotherapy were also unchanged (P = .773). A total of 36 (82%) patients followed physician's recommendations, with the exception of 8 patients who terminated chemotherapy due to refusal or loss to follow-up.
Conclusions: Considering our results showing no significant changes in depression and anxiety scores, QoL, and attitudes toward anticancer treatments after the AD, early integration of the AD at initiation of first-line palliative chemotherapy might be feasible.
Luxury goods have been shown to help individuals coping with death-related anxiety. However, the extent to which the symbolic value allocated to possessions (i.e., materialism) moderates this effect is still unclear. Here, we investigated the impact of materialism on impulsive approach tendencies toward luxury clothing brands in a context of mortality salience. Results showed that the impact of mortality salience was moderated by materialism with lower impulsive approach tendencies toward luxury clothing brands observed in non-materialistic participants. These findings highlight how materialism values may impact luxury consumption through impulsive pathways in a situation of death-related anxiety.
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the association of supernatural beliefs and sense of coherence with death anxiety and death depression in a Romanian sample of cancer patients. We found support for the terror management theory worldview defence hypothesis postulating the presence of a curvilinear relation between death anxiety and supernatural beliefs among cancer patients. Results conformed to an inverted U-shape quadratic regression, indicating that cancer patients who scored moderately on supernatural beliefs were afraid of death the most, while death anxiety was lowest for the extreme atheists and extreme believers in supernatural entities.
This study was conducted to evaluate the efficiency of a nursing support program developed in accordance with the Roy adaptation model that was applied in addition to routine nursing care during the treatment process of pregnant women for whom the medical termination decision. This study, which was conducted using a pretest–posttest design, was a prospective, single-blind, and randomized-controlled empirical study. In the experimental group, although the first and last assessment State Anxiety Inventory scores were higher than those in the control group after the medical termination nursing support program, there was no significant difference. Compared with the control group, there were positive differences in the Scale of Ways of Coping with Stress, Adaptation Assessment Form for Role Function Area, and physical complaints in the experimental group. At the follow-up assessment, the total Perinatal Grief Scale score was significantly higher than that in the control group.
PURPOSE: To analyze the concept of "Death anxiety" (00147) and to propose modifications in the components of this diagnosis in Taxonomy II of NANDA-I.
METHODS: A conceptual analysis was developed based on the eight steps proposed by Walker and Avant.
FINDINGS: Twenty-six articles were included from a search in four databases. Three defining attributes, nine antecedents, and two consequent ones were identified from concept analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: Conceptual analysis made possible the clarification of this diagnosis and the proposition of modifications in its components, which could provide a diagnostic accuracy.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Clarification of the diagnosis will allow the accurate identification of this phenomenon in clinical practice and, consequently, more appropriate nursing interventions.
In 2013, 3 systematic reviews of fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) and its predictors were published. All 3 concurred that FCR is a highly prevalent problem and amongst the largest unmet needs of cancer survivors, even 5 or more years after treatment. However, between them they identified only 1 study that had investigated the relationship between death anxiety and FCR. This is surprising because it is well acknowledged that a diagnosis of cancer, a potentially life-threatening illness, is associated with a number of existential issues that give rise to psychological sequelae such as intrusive thoughts about death and other post-traumatic symptoms. Outside the cancer literature, there has recently been a call to identify death anxiety as a transdiagnostic construct that underlies many anxiety disorders even in healthy people. And yet, the relevance of death anxiety to FCR has not been studied. We explore the barriers to the study of death anxiety and FCR and the reasons that a potential link between the 2 might have important theoretical and clinical implications. We conclude that establishing the relationship between death anxiety, FCR and other existential issues is essential in order to fully understand FCR, particularly in the context of advanced disease. We further conclude that whether death anxiety underlies FCR has important clinical implications which would potentially allow us to optimise currently available evidence-based treatments.
OBJECTIVES: In Singapore, the core curriculum for end-of-life (EOL) care used in nurse training courses is limited. Only 45% of nurses indicated familiarity with inpatient palliative care. Nurses who lack skills in palliative care may develop anxiety and negative attitudes towards caring for dying patients. We explored whether a two-day, multimodal EOL care workshop could reduce nurses' death anxiety and improve nurses' skills, knowledge, and attitude towards palliative care.
METHODS: Forty-five nurses participated in the workshop. At baseline before and at six weeks after, a 20-item knowledge-based questionnaire and the Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R) were administered. Six weeks post-workshop, in-depth interviews were conducted. We employed descriptive statistics, student paired samples t-test and inductive thematic analysis.
RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in nurses' knowledge score (p < 0.01) and reduction in their death anxiety score (p < 0.01). Fear of Death (p = 0.025) and Death Avoidance (p = 0.047) sub-scores decreased significantly. However, the remaining domains such as Neutral Acceptance, Approach Acceptance, and Escape Acceptance did not show any significant difference, although Escape Acceptance showed a trend towards a reduced score (p = 0.063). After the workshop, more nurses adopted the Neutral Acceptance stance (76.2%), and none of them fell into the Fear of Death subdomain. Most nurses interviewed reported a positive change in their knowledge, attitudes, and practice even after the workshop.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The multimodal palliative care workshop was useful in improving nurses' EOL knowledge and reducing their anxiety towards death. The positive change in nurses' attitudes and practices were noted to be sustained for at least six weeks after the intervention.
This study explores how age, certainty of belief, belief in science and gender is related to death anxiety and death acceptance. Results from a sample of atheists and other nonbelievers (N = 270) in the United States suggested that age and certainty of belief were significantly related to death anxiety and death acceptance, while belief in science was not a significant predictor. In addition, women reported higher levels of death anxiety compared to men. Implications and directions for future research in death perspectives for atheists and other nonbelievers are discussed.
BACKGROUND: There is evidence indicating that family sense of coherence predicts quality of family life and promotes family well-being. In families living with the palliative phase of cancer, low hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression are common in both persons with cancer and their family members.
AIM: To determine whether family sense of coherence was associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression, respectively, in persons with cancer in the palliative phase and their family members.
DESIGN: An observational, cross-sectional, multicentre study was conducted. Nested linear regression analyses were performed in two blocks to determine whether family sense of coherence was associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Persons with cancer (n = 179) and their family members (n = 165) were recruited from two oncology clinics and two palliative centres in three regions in Sweden.
RESULTS: The main findings showed that family sense of coherence was significantly and independently associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Stronger family sense of coherence was associated with higher hope and lower anxiety and symptoms of depression levels in both persons with cancer and their family members.
CONCLUSION: Health care providers should strive to identify families with weak family sense of coherence, because of its associations with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression, in order to offer them professional support and thereby achieve increased well-being during the palliative phase of cancer. Future studies should expand our knowledge of family sense of coherence and how to identify families at risk of lower levels of well-being.
BACKGROUND: Expressive writing involves writing about stressful or traumatic experiences. Despite trials in people with advanced disease, no systematic review to date has critiqued the evidence on expressive writing in this population. To synthesise the evidence of the effects of expressive writing on pain, sleep, depression and anxiety in people with advanced disease.
METHODS: A systematic review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. CINAHL, CENTRAL, PsycINFO and PubMed were searched from January 1986 to March 2018. Other sources included clinical data registers and conference proceedings. Studies were included if they were randomised controlled trials that assessed the impact of an intervention involving expressive writing for adults with advanced disease and/or studies involving linguistic analysis on the expressive writing output. Methodological quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool and the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation tool was used to assess the level of evidence for the outcomes of interest. The protocol of this systematic review has been registered on PROSPERO (CRD42017058193).
RESULTS: Six eligible studies with a total of 288 participants were identified, including four randomised controlled trials. All of the trials were in cancer and recruited predominantly women. None of the interventions were tailored to the population. Studies had methodological shortcomings and evidence was generally of low quality. Combined analysis of the four trials, involving 214 participants in total, showed no clear difference in the effect of expressive writing on sleep, anxiety or depression compared to an active control. Pain was not evaluated in the trials. In contrast, analysis of the four studies that included linguistic analysis alluded to linguistic mechanisms for potential effects.
CONCLUSION: Although the trial results suggest there is no benefit in expressive writing for people with advanced disease, the current evidence is limited. There is a need for more rigorous trials. It would be of benefit first to undertake exploratory research in trial design including how best to measure impact and in tailoring of the intervention to address the specific needs of people with advanced disease.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocol of this systematic review has been registered on PROSPERO, which can be accessed here (registration number: CRD42017058193 ).