The Effect of Dignity Therapy on the Quality of Life of Patients with Cancer Receiving Palliative Care

Mahsa Zaki-Nejad, lireza Nikbakht-Nasrabadi, Arpi Manookian, Ahmadreza Shamshiri


Background: Patients with cancer deal with physical, psychosocial, spiritual, and existential

problems that impact on their quality of life. This study aimed to assess the effect of dignity therapy

on the quality of life of mentioned patients.

Materials and Methods: In this quasi‑experimental

study, 50 patients with cancer hospitalized in a palliative care center in Tehran, Iran, in 2017‑18 who

fulfilled inclusion criteria were selected through convenience sampling. The European Organization

for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life‑C15‑Palliative (EORTC‑QLQ‑C15‑PAl)

questionnaire was filled by patients before and 2 weeks after dignity therapy. Data were analyzed

using descriptive statistics such as frequency, mean, and standard deviation, as well as inferential

statistics, including independent t‑test and Chi‑square test.

Results: Results showed that

dignity‑therapy led to more improvement in the quality of life of the intervention group (t35,18 = 4.82,

p = 0.001). There was also a significant difference between the two groups in terms of the physical

functioning scale (t32,96= ‑2.60, p = 0.01) and emotional functioning (t 45,69 = 6.54, p < 0.001). We also

found that dignity‑therapy led to more improvement in nausea and vomiting (χ2 = 5.71, p = 0.02),

insomnia (χ2 = 15.78, p < 0.001), appetite (χ2 = 5.09, p = 0.02), and constipation (χ2 = 12.50,

p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The application of new approaches like‑dignity therapy could benefit

patients with cancer in terms of reducing their distress, improving symptom severity, physical and

emotional functioning, and total quality of life.


Iran, oncology nursing, palliative care, personhood, quality of life

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