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 ).
The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between death anxiety and depressive and anxiety symptoms among Norwegian and Turkish female psychology students. For this purpose, 304 participants were recruited, of whom 127 were Norwegian and 177 were Turkish. Participants’ ages ranged from 18 to 35 years. The Beck Depression Inventory, the trait anxiety subscale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Death Anxiety Scale were used to examine these relationships. The findings showed that death anxiety was significantly related to depressive and anxiety symptoms in both countries. Furthermore, Turkish participants scored higher on both death anxiety and depressive and anxiety symptoms than their Norwegian counterparts. The findings encourage researchers to focus more on the relationship between death anxiety and depressive and anxiety symptoms in a cross-cultural frame.
We present three datasets from a project about the relationship between death anxiety and religiosity. These include data from 1,838 individuals in the United States (n = 813), Brazil (n = 800), Russia (n = 800), the Philippines (n = 200), South Korea (n = 200), and Japan (n = 219). Measures were largely consistent across samples: they include measures of death anxiety, experience of and exposure to death, religious belief, religious behaviour, religious experience, and demographic information. Responses have also been back-translated into English where necessary, though original untranslated data are also included.
CONTEXT: Losing a child is the most burdensome event parents can experience involving risks of developing anxiety and depression.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate anxiety and depression in bereaved parents during their child's life-limiting illness and imminent death and 3-5 years after the loss in order to target future interventions.
METHODS: A Danish nationwide cross-sectional questionnaire survey. From 2012-2014 a register-based study identified causes of deaths of 951 children 0-18 years of age. Potential palliative diagnoses were classified according to previously used classification. Four-hundred-and-two families were included. A modified version of the self-administered questionnaire "To lose a child" was used. Non-response surveys identified reasons for lack of response.
RESULTS: In all, 136 mothers and 57 fathers completed a questionnaire, representing parents of 152 children (38%). Sixty-five% of mothers and 63% of fathers reported moderate to severe anxiety during the child´s illness. However, 3-5 years after their loss anxiety had decreased markedly. Thirty-five% of mothers and 39% of fathers reported moderate to severe depression during the child´s illness; 3-5 years after the loss they were suffering equivalently from depression. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale indicated that severe depression was significantly associated with lower education and being unmarried.
CONCLUSION: The reporting of anxiety during the child´s illness and prolonged depression in bereaved parents 3-5 years after the loss indicates a potential need for psychological interventions. In the process of implementing specialized paediatric palliative care in Denmark our findings should be considered for future treatment programs.
Autobiographical memory has an important influence on the mental health of bereaved people. In this study, we conducted a questionnaire survey of 372 shiduers (parents who have lost their only child) to investigate the moderating role of familistic emotion in the effect of autobiographical memory function on depression and anxiety in shiduers. The results show that when either self-function or directive-function is the independent variable, familistic emotion plays a moderating role; however, when social function is the independent variable, familistic emotion does not play a moderating role. This article discusses the reasons for these results.
OBJECTIVES: Family members of children admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) suffer from severe stress, which sometimes results in long-term psychological problems. We aimed to identify associations between demographic and psychosocial variables at early stages of a child's admission to the ICU and depression and anxiety in family members at approximately 3 months after admission. We also explored predictive models for depression and anxiety at 3 months after admission.
METHODS: This study is a secondary analysis of data from a previous clinical trial of palliative care for family members in ICUs, in which 380 family members of 220 children reported demographic and psychosocial status at approximately 1 week after ICU admission (baseline), at discharge from the ICUs, and at 3 months after the child's admission to the ICU. Clinical data were extracted from the children's medical records. We used linear regression models and stepwise linear regression for the analyses.
RESULTS: After controlling for significant confounders of gender (female) and child mortality, worse psychological status at baseline, represented by reported depression, anxiety, and acute stress symptoms, was associated with more severe depression and anxiety at 3 months. Also, a better family relationship at baseline was associated with lower depression and anxiety at 3 months.
CONCLUSION: We suggest a need to screen family members of children admitted to the ICU with validated scales and intervening with those at high risk of depression and anxiety.
BACKGROUND: Emotional preparedness for death is a distinct but related concept to prognostic awareness (PA). Both allow patients to prepare psychologically and interpersonally for death but they have primarily been examined in cross-sectional studies.
OBJECTIVE: To (1) explore the courses of change in good emotional preparedness for death and accurate PA and (2) evaluate their associations with severe anxiety symptoms, severe depressive symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients' last year.
METHODS: For this prospective, longitudinal study, we consecutively recruited 277 terminally ill cancer patients. Aims 1 and 2 were examined by univariate and multivariate generalized estimating equation analyses, respectively.
RESULTS: The prevalence of good emotional preparedness for death was 54.43%–65.85% in the last year, with a significant decrease only 91–180 vs. 181–365 days before death (odds ratio [95% CI] = 0.67 [0.47, 0.97]). Good emotional preparedness for death was associated with a lower likelihood of severe anxiety symptoms (adjusted odds ratio [95% CI] = 0.47 [0.27, 0.79]) and severe depressive symptoms (0.61 [0.39, 0.95]), but not with quality of life (ß [95% CI] = 0.49 [-2.13, 3.11]). However, accurate PA improved substantially (55.12%–70.73%) as death approached and accurate PA was positively associated with severe depressive symptoms (2.63 [1.63, 4.25]).
CONCLUSIONS: Good emotional preparedness for death and accurate PA remained largely stable and improved substantially, respectively, in cancer patients' last year. Both measures were significantly associated with psychological distress. Healthcare professionals should not only cultivate accurate PA but also promote cancer patients' emotional preparedness for death, which may improve their psychological well-being.
Palliative care providers must seek to improve quality of life despite their patients' life-threating diseases, based on the concept of total pain, which includes physical, psychological and spiritual pain. Understanding the relationship between spiritual coping and psychological symptoms (especially depressive symptoms) could help healthcare teams better address patients' needs. Across-sectional survey with aconvenient sample of ambulatory palliative care patients investigated their psychological pain through the Hospital Anxiety and Depressive (HAD) scale and their use of spirituality using the Brief Religious/spiritual coping (BriefRCOPE) scale. Alinear regression model, using the HADS-depression as outcome variable and the BriefRCOPE as the independent variable, adjusting for confounding variables, investigated the possible association between these variables. Due to methodological limitations, just 40 out 130 potential participants were assessed, with 40percent showing depressive symptoms. In regression model, depressive and anxiety symptoms were significantly associated with each other (p = 0.037 and 0.015, respectively) and negative religious/spiritual coping was associated with depressive symptoms (p = 0.033). This study found asignificant relationship between psychological pain and negative spiritual coping mechanisms. Palliative care professionals should be trained to address patients' total pain and spiritual needs, supporting their ability to cope with their suffering.