Arguments in favor of a religious coping pattern in terminally ill patients

Andrada Parvu, Gabriel Roman, Silvia Dumitras, Rodica Gramma, Mariana Enache, Stefana Maria Moisa, Radu Chirita, Catalin Iov, Beatrice Ioan


A patient suffering from a severe illness that is entering its terminal stage is forced to develop a coping process. Of all the coping patterns, the religious one stands out as being a psychological resource available to all patients regardless of culture, learning, and any age. Religious coping interacts with other values or practices of society, for example the model of a society that takes care of it's elder members among family or in an institutionalized environment or the way the health system offers or not psychological support for a terminally ill patient. Health care providers should have at least some psychological coping patterns training because not all patterns of religious coping are equally effective, and some have been described as increasing the level of stress or producing other negative psychological effects on the patient. This article aims to review the complex models of religious coping that are unanimously accepted in psychooncology, arguments in favor of religious coping, the types of patients that use this model, ethical dilemmas that could be reinterpreted using religious arguments. Finally, we will also discuss the need of Romanian patients to embrace a religious coping in case of an incurable illness, and also the support that they can receive from both curative and palliative health care providers.


coping, religious coping, spirituality, palliative care, terminally ill patients, cancer, spiritual needs, decision making at the end of life

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