Effect of a spiritual care program on levels of anxiety in patients with leukemia

Mahin Moeini, Fariba Taleghani, Tayebeh Mehrabi, Amir Musarezaie


Background: Leukemia is the most common and fatal cancer among young adults. Among all malignancies, it has the greatesteffects on emotional and mental aspects of the patients. While 25-33% of patients with non-hematological malignancies sufferfrom anxiety disorder, some studies have reported the rate among patients with leukemia as high as 50%. Anxiety can negativelyaffect other important characteristics and parameters in patients with cancer. Furthermore, cancer increases the patients’ spiritualneeds. Therefore, spirituality has a signifi cant role in adapting to leukemia and coping with its consequent mental disorders such asanxiety. This study was hence performed to determine the effects of a spiritual care program on anxiety of patients with leukemia.

Materials and Methods: This randomized clinical trial was conducted in Sayyed-Al-Shohada Hospital affi liated to Isfahan Universityof Medical Sciences (Isfahan, Iran) in 2012. Sixty four adult patients with leukemia were randomly divided into the experiment andcontrol groups. The spiritual care program including supportive presence and support for religious rituals was implemented for 3 days.Anxiety subscale from the 42-item depression, anxiety and stress scale was completed before and after the intervention for bothgroups. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical methods (Chi-square, paired and independent t-tests) in SPSS18.

Results: There was no signifi cant difference between the two groups before the intervention. However, after the intervention,mean score of anxiety were signifi cantly lower in the experiment group than in the control group (P < 0.01). There was also asignifi cant difference in the scores of the experiment group before and after the intervention (P < 0.01). Such a difference wasabsent in the control group.

Conclusions: Our spiritual care program could successfully decrease anxiety levels in patients with leukemia. Therefore, in casesof refractory diseases such as cancer, nurses have to apply a holistic care approach with emphasis on spiritual care.

Key words: Anxiety, Iran, leukemia, nursing, spirituality

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