Coping strategies for existencial and spiritual suffering in Israeli patients with advanced cancer

Netta Bentur*, Daphna Yaira Stark, Shirli Resnizky, Zvi Symon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coping with existential and spiritual concerns is inescapable in end-of-life care although not enough is known about the strategies and mechanisms involved. This pilot study focused on identifying the strategies for coping with existential and spiritual suffering at the end of life of secular Jews with advanced-stage cancer. Using the phenomenological approach to data collection, in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 patients receiving symptom relief care at a daycare oncology clinic. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and the content was analyzed.Advanced-stage cancer patients employ several approaches to cope with existential and spiritual concerns. The themes emerging from the interviews present five dimensions of coping strategies: openness and choosing to face reality, connectedness and the significance of family, pursuit of meaning, the connection of body, mind and spirit and, lastly, humor and a positive outlook.Conclusions: Since these concerns cause suffering and distress, intervention models targeting existential and spiritual suffering should be disseminated among professionals involved in caring for people with life-threatening illnesses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 24 Jun 2014


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