The correlation between death anxiety and quality of life In patients with cancer
Authors Reza Negarandeh, Mohammadali Soleimani
Background & Aim:Quality of life of patients with cancer has not been determined only with the disease and its treatment and it depends on other medical, psychological and social conditions. Due to the uncertain nature of death, for many people it seems as a threat. Death anxiety and psychological disorders can affect the quality of life for this group of patients. The aim of this study was to examine the correlation between death anxiety and QOL in patients with cancer referring to Imam Khomeini Hospital Cancer Institute, Tehran, Iran.
Material & Methods:It was a cross-sectional correlational study. A convenience sample of 330 patients was recruited. Data collection instruments included a demographic questionnaire, the 15-item Templer Death Anxiety Scale, and the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire. Data analysis was performed by descriptive and inferential statistics (Kolmogorov - Smirnov, Independent t test, Mann-Whitney, One way Anova, Kruskal-Wallis, Spearman correlation test, Multiple linear regression) using SPSS-PC (v.20). The level of significance for all the tests was set at below 0.05.
Results:The median of death anxiety score and the mean of total QOL score were 46 (IQR= 18) and 106.01 (standard deviation = 25.43), respectively. Death anxiety was significantly correlated with the total score of quality of life (r = –0.39) and also with two dimensions of quality of life including ‘general quality of life’ dimension (r = –0.15) and ‘emotions and thoughts’ dimension (r = –0.41). Compared with female patients, Male patients had fewer Death anxiety and better quality of life. There were also a significant correlation between social support and death anxiety (rs = -0.15) and quality of life (rs = 0.11). Besides, There were significant correlation between death anxiety and the Religious duties rate (rs = - 0.14) and religious beliefs rate (rs = - 0.19).
Conclusions:The study revealed that death anxiety, economic status, and level of social activities were the significant predictors of QOL in patients with cancer. Alleviating death anxiety (by adopting strategies such as consultation, reinforcement, and fulfillment of patients’ emotional and psychological needs), providing better financial supports and insurance services as well as encouraging patients to actively participate in social activities are among the strategies that can improve QOL in patients with cancer.
Keywords:Death anxiety, Cancer, Quality of life