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      Faith as a Resource in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Is Associated with a Positive Interpretation of Illness and Experience of Gratitude/Awe


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          The aim of this cross-sectional anonymous survey with standardized questionnaires was to investigate which resources to cope were used by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). We focussed on patients' conviction that their faith might be a strong hold in difficult times and on their engagement in different forms of spirituality. Consecutively 213 German patients (75% women; mean age 43 ± 11 years) were enrolled. Fifty-five percent regarded themselves as neither religious nor spiritual (R−S−), while 31% describe themselves as religious. For 29%, faith was a strong hold in difficult times. This resource was neither related to patients' EDSS scores, and life affections, fatigue, negative mood states, life satisfaction nor to Positive attitudes. Instead it was moderately associated with a Reappraisal strategy (i.e., and positive interpretation of illness) and experience of gratitude/awe. Compared to spiritual/religious patients, R−S− individuals had significantly ( P < .0001) lower Reappraisal scores and lower engagement in specific forms of spiritual practices. The ability to reflect on what is essential in life, to appreciate and value life, and also the conviction that illness may have meaning and could be regarded as a chance for development was low in R−S− individuals which either may have no specific interest or are less willing to reflect these issues.

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          Most cited references30

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          The Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMC): validation of a new instrument to assess multiple sclerosis-related fatigue.

          Fatigue symptoms are reported by a majority of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Reliable assessment, however, is a demanding issue as the symptoms are experienced subjectively and as objective assessment strategies are missing. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a new tool, the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMC), for the assessment of MS-related cognitive and motor fatigue. A total of 309 MS patients and 147 healthy controls were included into the validation study. The FSMC was tested against several external criteria (e.g. cognition, motivation, personality and other fatigue scales). The item-analysis and validation procedure showed that the FSMC is highly sensitive and specific in detecting fatigued MS patients, that both subscales significantly differentiated between patients and controls (p 0.91) as well as test-retest reliability (r > 0.80) were high. Cut-off values were determined to classify patients as mildly, moderately or severely fatigued. In conclusion, the FSMC is a new scale that has undergone validation based on a large sample of patients and that provides differential quantification and graduation of cognitive and motor fatigue.
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            Religious coping methods as predictors of psychological, physical and spiritual outcomes among medically ill elderly patients: a two-year longitudinal study.

            A total of 268 medically ill, elderly, hospitalized patients responded to measures of religious coping and spiritual, psychological and physical functioning at baseline and follow-up two years later. After controlling for relevant variables, religious coping was significantly predictive of spiritual outcome, and changes in mental and physical health. Generally, positive methods of religious coping (e.g. seeking spiritual support, benevolent religious reappraisals) were associated with improvements in health. Negative methods of religious coping (e.g. punishing God reappraisal, interpersonal religious discontent) were predictive of declines in health. Patients who continue to struggle with religious issues over time may be particularly at risk for health-related problems.
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              Religious coping and depression among elderly, hospitalized medically ill men.

              The investigators examined the frequency of religious coping among older medical inpatients, the characteristics of those who use it, and the relation between this behavior and depression. The subjects were 850 men aged 65 years and over, without psychiatric diagnoses, who were consecutively admitted to the medical or neurological services of a southern Veterans Administration medical center. Religious coping was assessed with a three-item index. Depressive symptoms were assessed by self-rating (the Geriatric Depression Scale) and observer rating (the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression). One out of every five patients reported that religious thought and/or activity was the most important strategy used to cope with illness. Variables that were associated with religious coping included black race, older age, being retired, religious affiliation, high level of social support, infrequent alcohol use, a prior history of psychiatric problems, and higher cognitive functioning. Depressive symptoms were inversely related to religious coping, an association which persisted after other sociodemographic and health correlates were controlled. When 202 men were reevaluated during their subsequent hospital admissions an average of 6 months later, religious coping was the only baseline variable that predicted lower depression scores at follow-up. These findings suggest that religious coping is a common behavior that is inversely related to depression in hospitalized elderly men.

                Author and article information

                Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
                Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
                Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                10 November 2013
                10 November 2013
                : 2013
                : 128575
                1Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, Institute of Integrative Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
                2Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Universität Freiburg, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
                3Department of Neurology, Communal Hospital Herdecke, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
                4Department of Neurology and Palliative Care, Köln-Merheim Hospital, 51109 Cologne, Germany
                5Neurological Hospital, Clinic of Lüdenscheid, 58515 Lüdenscheid, Germany
                6Augusta Hospital Anholt, Neurological Hospital, 46419 Isselburg, Germany
                7Caritas Science and Christian Social Work, Faculty of Theology, Albert-Ludwigs University, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
                8Institute of Integrative Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: John Swinton

                Copyright © 2013 Arndt Büssing et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 28 May 2013
                : 25 September 2013
                Research Article

                Complementary & Alternative medicine
                Complementary & Alternative medicine


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