SAGE Journals

Quality of Life for Older Cancer Patients: Relation of Psychospiritual Distress to Meaning-Making During Dignity Therapy

Posted on 2021-05-10 - 00:10

Nearly 500,000 older Americans die a cancer-related death annually. Best practices for seriously ill patients include palliative care that aids in promoting personal dignity. Dignity Therapy is an internationally recognized therapeutic intervention designed to enhance dignity for the seriously ill. Theoretically, Dignity Therapy provides opportunity for patients to make meaning by contextualizing their illness within their larger life story. The extent to which Dignity Therapy actually elicits meaning-making from patients, however, has not been tested.


The current study examines (i) extent of patient meaning-making during Dignity Therapy, and (ii) whether baseline psychospiritual distress relates to subsequent meaning-making during Dignity Therapy.


Participants completed baseline self-report measures of psychospiritual distress (i.e., dignity-related distress, spiritual distress, quality of life), before participating in Dignity Therapy. Narrative analysis identified the extent of meaning-making during Dignity Therapy sessions.


Twenty-five outpatients (M age = 63, SD = 5.72) with late-stage cancer and moderate cancer-related symptoms were recruited.


Narrative analysis revealed all patients made meaning during Dignity Therapy but there was wide variation (i.e., 1—12 occurrences). Patients who made greater meaning were those who, at baseline, reported significantly higher psychospiritual distress, including greater dignity-related distress (r = .46), greater spiritual distress (r = .44), and lower quality of life (r = -.56).


Meaning-making was found to be a central component of Dignity Therapy. Particularly, patients experiencing greater distress in facing their illness use the Dignity Therapy session to express how they have made meaning in their lives.


3 Biotech
3D Printing in Medicine
3D Research
3D-Printed Materials and Systems
AAPG Bulletin
AAPS PharmSciTech
Abhandlungen aus dem Mathematischen Seminar der Universität Hamburg
ABI Technik (German)
Academic Medicine
Academic Pediatrics
Academic Psychiatry
Academic Questions
Academy of Management Discoveries
Academy of Management Journal
Academy of Management Learning and Education
Academy of Management Perspectives
Academy of Management Proceedings
Academy of Management Review
Select your citation style and then place your mouse over the citation text to select it.



Usage metrics

American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine®


Susan Bluck
Emily L. Mroz
Diana J. Wilkie
Linda Emanuel
George Handzo
George Fitchett
Harvey Max Chochinov
Carma L. Bylund
need help?