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Religiosity and the challenge of terminal illness
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Pamela Mcgrath
One of the assumptions that underpins the literature on spirituality is the belief that facing a terminal illness is a life crisis that intensifies the search for meaning, leaving individuals predisposed to embrace religion. To date, however, there is scant empirical research on the topic.This article seeks to make a contribution to this topic by reporting findings from a qualitative study that address the question of whether individuals embrace religious beliefs when faced with the challenge of a serious illness.The data were gathered from open-ended interviews with 14 hospice patients, audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed.The findings indicate the majority did not seek religious comfort or conversion as a response to the challenge of terminal illness, even when this was seen as desirable. Although participants were not actively inspired to be religious as a result of their illness, they did hold a number of spiritual perspectives that were actively at play.