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16.04.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 10/2018

Supportive Care in Cancer 10/2018

Spiritual needs and their associated factors among cancer patients in China: a cross-sectional study

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 10/2018
Qinqin Cheng, Xianghua Xu, Xiangyu Liu, Ting Mao, Yongyi Chen
Wichtige Hinweise
Qinqin Cheng and Xianghua Xu contributed equally to this work and should be considered as the joint first authors.



Spiritual needs are important for many patients with life-limiting illnesses. Knowledge of spiritual needs is a first step to their fulfillment; however, such knowledge is lacking for patients with cancer in mainland China. This study evaluated spiritual needs among patients with cancer in China and analyzed their associations with demographic and clinical characteristics.


A descriptive, cross-sectional study was performed. A general information questionnaire and a Chinese version of the Spiritual Needs Scale were used to collect information about patients with cancer. A total of 200 participants were recruited, and 182 completed the survey.


The overall average spiritual needs score was 3.15. Of five dimensions investigated, the highest and lowest scores were for “hope and peace” (mean = 3.31) and “relationship with transcendence” (mean = 2.96). Of specific needs, “to be accepted,” “to take responsibility for my life,” and “to alleviate my suffering” (means = 3.36–3.38) were valued as most important by participants. “To talk to someone,” “to pray and participate in religious rituals and services,” and “to feel God with me during my struggle against disease” (means = 2.71–2.91) were considered least important. Participants’ spiritual needs differed significantly according to disease stage (p < 0.001), time since diagnosis (p = 0.002), and hospitalization frequency (p = 0.004).


The spiritual needs of patients with cancer should receive more attention in China. Effective assessment tools and procedures should be established to evaluate the spiritual needs of patients and formulate appropriate interventions at an early stage.

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