Advertisement

Spiritual lives of children with cancer: A qualitative descriptive study in Lithuania

Published:November 17, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2022.11.013

      Highlights

      • The views on spirituality related to children age, gender, and family composition.
      • Staff, family and friends were essential for a semblance of normalcy in daily life.
      • Sick children demonstrated emotional protective behavior toward their families.
      • The use of prayer and relationship with God was more abstract for children.

      Abstract

      Purpose

      To explore the experience and perception of spiritual lives of children with cancer.

      Design and methods

      A qualitative descriptive study included the collection of narratives on spiritual lives of children drawn from two university hospitals in Lithuania in the form of a semi-structured face-to-face interviews. Purposive sample of twenty-seven hospitalized children (5–12 y.) with non-terminal stage of cancer participated in the study.

      Results

      The final four themes emerged from across all the questions as: being normal, community, comfort and connections with God.

      Conclusions

      Children with cancer needed to maintain as normal a life as posssible, despite being ill and undergoing treatment. Connections with family and friends were echoed in all the themes that emerged in the study. Children seemed to own their views about needing to pray or not; their needs revolved around asking for health and remission of their illness. Children diagnosed with cancer have a unique understanding of spirituality that is linked to their age, gender, and family composition. These ideas change as children develop and mature.

      Practical implications

      The need to explore the spiritual lives of children with life threatening illnesses from an early age is evident. Health professionals need to recognize that a child is the product of their family, their community, their culture and their spirituality. Conversations with children about what God means to them and how prayer supports them, is essential. The opinion that spirituality topic might be hardly understood or too sensitive to children is rejected by the researchers.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      References

        • Alisauskiene M.
        • Zilys A.
        Who criticizes the clergy in contemporary Lithuania? A sociohistorical analysis of anticlericalism.
        Religions. 2021; 13: 4
        • Alvarenga W.A.
        • de Carvalho E.C.
        • Caldeira S.
        • Vieira M.
        • Nascimento L.C.
        The possibilities and challenges in providing pediatric spiritual care.
        Journal of Child Health Care. 2017; 21: 435-445
        • Alvarenga W.A.
        • Machado J.R.
        • Leite A.C.A.B.
        • Caldeira S.
        • Vieira M.
        • da Rocha S.S.
        • Nascimento L.C.
        Spiritual needs of Brazilian children and adolescents with chronic illnesses: A thematic analysis.
        Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 2021; 60: 39-45
        • Barton K.S.
        • Tate T.
        • Lau N.
        • Taliesin K.B.
        • Waldman E.D.
        • Rosenberg A.R.
        “I’m not a spiritual person.” How hope might facilitate conversations about spirituality among teens and young adults with cancer.
        Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2018; 55: 1599-1608
        • Beal C.C.
        Keeping the story together: a holistic approach to narrative analysis.
        Journal of Research in Nursing. 2013; 18: 692-704
        • Berry A.
        • Borgi M.
        • Francia N.
        • Alleva E.
        • Cirulli F.
        Use of assistance and therapy dogs for children with autism spectrum disorders: A critical review of the current evidence.
        The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2013; 19: 73-80
        • Braun V.
        • Clarke V.
        Using thematic analysis in psychology.
        Qualitative Research in Psychology. 2006; 3: 77-101
        • Braun V.
        • Clarke V.
        Novel insights into patients' life-worlds: The value of qualitative research.
        The Lancet Psychiatry. 2019; 6: 720-721
        • Bruning M.D.
        Children, war, and moral injury.
        Military Behavioral Health. 2018; 6: 143-150
        • Byrne A.-L.
        • Baldwin A.
        • Harvey C.
        Whose Centre is it anyway? Defining person-centred care in nursing: An integrative review.
        PLoS One. 2020; 15
        • Cené C.W.
        • Johnson B.H.
        • Wells N.
        • Baker B.
        • Davis R.
        • Turchi R.
        A narrative review of patient and family engagement.
        Medical Care. 2016; 54: 697-705
        • Chirico F.
        Spiritual well-being in the 21st century: It is time to review the current WHO’s health definition.
        Journal of Health and Social Sciences. 2016; 1: 11-16
        • Clayton M.
        • Aldridge J.
        Fifteen-minute consultation: Not the whole story—Considering children’s spirituality and advance care planning.
        Archives of Disease in Childhood - Education and Practice. 2019; 104: 170-172
        • Clayton-Jones D.
        • Haglund K.
        • Belknap R.A.
        • Schaefer J.
        • Thompson A.A.
        Spirituality and religiosity in adolescents living with sickle cell disease.
        Western Journal of Nursing Research. 2016; 38: 686-703
        • Compas B.E.
        • Jaser S.S.
        • Dunn M.J.
        • Rodriguez E.M.
        Coping with chronic illness in childhood and adolescence.
        Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2012; 8: 455-480
        • Cotton S.
        • Weekes J.C.
        • McGrady M.E.
        • Rosenthal S.L.
        • Yi M.S.
        • Pargament K.
        • Tsevat J.
        Spirituality and religiosity in urban adolescents with asthma.
        Journal of Religion and Health. 2012; 51: 118-131
        • Crompton M.
        Children, spirituality, religion and social work.
        Ashgate/Arena, 1998
        • Damsma Bakker A.A.
        • van Leeuwen R.R.R.
        • Roodbol P.F.P.
        The spirituality of children with chronic conditions: A qualitative meta-synthesis.
        Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 2018; 43
        • Fosarelli P.
        The spiritual child: The new science on parenting for health and lifelong thriving.
        Journal of Religion and Health. 2015; 54: 2422-2423
        • Frakking T.
        • Michaels S.
        • Orbell-Smith J.
        • Le Ray L.
        Framework for patient, family-centred care within an Australian community hospital: Development and description.
        BMJ Open Quality. 2020; 9
        • García-Ventura S.
        • Mas J.M.
        • Balcells-Balcells A.
        • Giné C.
        Family-centred early intervention: Comparing practitioners’ actual and desired practices.
        Child: Care, Health and Development. 2020; 47: 218-227
        • Gardner F.
        • Tan H.
        • Rumbold B.
        What spirituality means for patients and families in health care.
        Journal of Religion and Health. 2018; 59: 195-203
        • Haydon G.
        • Browne G.
        • van der Riet P.
        Narrative inquiry as a research methodology exploring person centred care in nursing.
        Collegian. 2018; 25: 125-129
        • Haydon G.
        • van der Riet P.
        Narrative inquiry: A relational research methodology suitable to explore narratives of health and illness.
        Nordic Journal of Nursing Research. 2017; 37: 85-89
        • Hengeveld B.
        • Maaskant J.M.
        • Lindeboom R.
        • Marshall A.P.
        • Vermeulen H.
        • Eskes A.M.
        Nursing competencies for family-centred care in the hospital setting: A multinational q-methodology study.
        Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2020; 77: 1783-1799
        • Hess D.
        Mindfulness-based interventions for hematology and oncology patients with pain.
        Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America. 2018; 32: 493-504
        • Hexem K.R.
        • Mollen C.J.
        • Carroll K.
        • Lanctot D.A.
        • Feudtner C.
        How parents of children receiving pediatric palliative care use religion, spirituality, or life philosophy in tough times.
        Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2011; 14: 39
        • Hinic K.
        • Kowalski M.O.
        • Holtzman K.
        • Mobus K.
        The effect of a pet therapy and comparison intervention on anxiety in hospitalized children.
        Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 2019; 46: 55-61
        • Holder M.D.
        • Coleman B.
        • Wallace J.M.
        Spirituality, religiousness, and happiness in children aged 8–12 years.
        Journal of Happiness Studies. 2008; 11: 131-150
        • Hornby A.S.
        • Ashby M.
        • Wehmeier S.
        Spirituality.
        in: Oxford advanced learner‘s dictionary of current English. 7th ed. 2000
        • Hughes M.
        Parents’ and nurses’ attitudes to family-centred care: An Irish perspective.
        Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2007; 16: 2341-2348
        • Jepsen S.L.
        • Haahr A.
        • Eg M.
        • Jørgensen L.B.
        Coping with the unfamiliar: How do children cope with hospitalization in relation to acute and/or critical illness? A qualitative metasynthesis.
        Journal of Child Health Care. 2018; 23: 534-550
        • Juskienė V.
        Spiritual health as an integral component of human wellbeing.
        Applied Research In Health And Social Sciences: Interface And Interaction. 2016; 13: 3-13
        • Kamper R.L.
        • Van Cleve L.
        • Savedra M.
        Children with advanced cancer: responses to a spiritual quality of life interview.
        Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing. 2010; 15: 301-306
        • Lalani N.
        • Chen A.
        Spirituality in nursing and health: A historical context, challenges, and way forward.
        Holistic Nursing Practice. 2021; 35: 206-210
        • McNeil S.B.
        Spirituality in adolescents and young adults with cancer: A review of literature.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing: Official Journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses. 2016; 33: 55-63
        • Michaelson V.
        • Šmigelskas K.
        • King N.
        • Inchley J.
        • Malinowska-Cieślik M.
        • Pickett W.
        • HBSC Spiritual Health Writing Group
        Domains of spirituality and their importance to the health of 75 533 adolescents in 12 countries.
        Health Promotion International. 2021; : 1-11
        • Mitchell S.
        • Slowther A.-M.
        • Coad J.
        • Dale J.
        Experiences of healthcare, including palliative care, of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families: A longitudinal qualitative investigation.
        Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2020; 106: 570-576
        • Moore K.
        • Talwar V.
        • Bosacki S.
        Canadian children’s perceptions of spirituality: Diverse voices.
        Intenational Journal of Children’s Spirituality. 2012; 17: 217-234
        • Moore K.
        • Talwar V.
        • Gomez-Garibello C.
        • Bosacki S.
        • Moxley-Haegert L.
        Children’s spirituality: Exploring spirituality in the lives of cancer survivors and a healthy comparison group.
        Journal of Health Psychology. 2020; 25: 888-899
        • Nash P.
        • Darby K.
        • Nash S.
        The spiritual care of sick children: Reflections from a pilot participation project.
        International Journal of Children’s Spirituality. 2013; 18: 148-161
        • Nowell L.S.
        • Norris J.M.
        • White D.E.
        • Moules N.J.
        Thematic analysis: Striving to meet the trustworthiness criteria.
        International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 2017; 16
        • Omari O.
        • Wynaden D.
        • Al-Omari H.
        • Khatatbeh M.
        Coping strategies of Jordanian adolescents with cancer: An interpretive phenomenological analysis study.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 2017; 34: 35-43
        • Pehler S.R.
        • Craft-Rosenberg M.
        Longing: The lived experience of spirituality in adolescents with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
        Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 2009; 24: 481-494
        • Pfund R.
        Nurturing a child’s spirituality.
        Journal of Child Health Care. 2000; 4: 143-148
        • Riklikiene O.
        • Karosas L.
        • Kaseliene S.
        General and professional values of student nurses and nurse educators.
        Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2018; 74: 666-676
        • Riklikiene O.
        • Kaseliene S.
        • Fisher J.
        Translation and validation of spiritual well-being questionnaire SHALOM in Lithuanian language, culture and health care practice.
        Religions. 2018; 9
        • Riklikiene O.
        • Vozgirdiene I.
        • Karosas L.M.
        • Lazenby M.
        Spiritual care as perceived by Lithuanian student nurses and nurse educators: A national survey.
        Nurse Education Today. 2016; 36: 207-213
        • Robert R.
        • Stavinoha P.
        • Jones B.L.
        • Robinson J.
        • Larson K.
        • Hicklen R.
        • Weaver M.S.
        Spiritual assessment and spiritual care offerings as a standard of care in pediatric oncology: A recommendation informed by a systematic review of the literature.
        Pediatric Blood & Cancer. 2019; 66
        • Rossato L.
        • Ullán A.M.
        • Scorsolini-Comin F.
        Religious and spiritual practices used by children and adolescents to cope with cancer.
        Journal of Religion and Health. 2021; 60: 4167-4183
        • Soskovets L.
        • Krasilnikov S.
        • Mymrina D.
        Persecution of believers as a systemic feature of the soviet regime.
        SHS Web of Conferences. 2016; 28
        • Spiritual Health Association
        Guidelines for quality spiritual care in health.
        2020
        • Streikus A.
        Strengthening movement. Memoirs of soviet Lithuania’s figures: Review.
        Knygu aidai. 2006; 1: 12-15
        • Vincensi B.B.
        Interconnections: Spirituality, spiritual care, and patient-centered care.
        Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2019; 6: 104-110
        • Werk R.S.
        • Steinhorn D.M.
        • Newberg A.
        The relationship between spirituality and the developing brain: A framework for pediatric oncology.
        Journal of Religion and Health. 2020; 60: 389-405
        • Wilson K.
        • Mazhar W.
        • Rojas-Cooley T.
        • De Rosa V.
        • Van Cleve L.
        A glimpse into the lives of 3 children: Their Cancer journey.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 2011; 28: 100-106
        • Woodgate R.L.
        • Degner L.F.
        A substantive theory of keeping the Spirit alive: The Spirit within children with cancer and their families.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 2003; 20: 103-119