Religious and Spiritual Variables in Three Major Oncology Nursing Journals: 1990-1999

Laura T. Flannelly

Kevin J. Flannelly

Andrew J. Weaver

ONF 2002, 29(4), 679-685. DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.679-685

Purpose/Objectives: To review qualitative and quantitative research studies measuring religious and spiritual variables published in American oncology nursing journals from 1990-1999 and the types of measures used.

Data Sources: All research studies published from 1990-1999 in Oncology Nursing Forum, Cancer Nursing, and the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing.

Data Synthesis: A higher percentage of qualitative (27%) than quantitative (14%) oncology nursing studies reported findings on religious and spiritual variables. Religion or spirituality was the major focus of 14% of qualitative studies, and these concepts emerged in qualitative studies even when they were not a study's research focus. Religion or spirituality was the primary independent or dependent variable in 10% of quantitative studies and was a prominent measure in quantitative studies on patients' needs, coping, and quality of life.

Conclusions: Nursing researchers in oncology are more likely to study issues relating to religion and spirituality than researchers in other fields of nursing, and substantially more research on these topics has been reported in oncology nursing than in the research literature on psychology or various fields of medicine.

Implications for Nursing: Implications include the value of (a) combining qualitative and quantitative methods in a single study, (b) incorporating demographic measures, such as religious denomination, as independent variables in analyses, (c) using separate and multiple measures of religion and spirituality in research, and (d) differentiating between religious and spiritual needs in research and practice.

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