World Journal of Psycho-Social Oncology Volume No 6

Review Open Access

Psychosocial Interventions for Cancer Patients and Outcomes Related to Religion or Spirituality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Anne Moyer, Matthew Goldenberg, Stefan Schneider, Stephanie Sohl and Sarah Knapp
World Journal of Psycho-Social Oncology 2014, 3:1



Religion and spirituality areimportant aspects of life for many individuals and have been shown to be potentially useful in therapy. This hold relevance to patients coping with cancer.

Study Design

In this systematic andmeta-analytic review, we examined the extent to which psychosocial interventions for cancer patients improve spiritual or religious quality of life.

Materials and Methods

We drew reports from a database of 932 unique projects that evaluated the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for cancer patients reported over three decades. We identified 78 projects that measured religious or spiritual outcomes for inclusion in the current review. We investigated the types of interventions that these comprised, the types of spiritual or religious outcomes assessed. For 20 studies for which data were available we calculated effect sizes for religious or spiritual quality of life and examined the potential moderating roles ofpatient genderand race/ethnicity on the interventions’ effects.


We found that overall psychosocial interventions were beneficial for cancer patients’ religious or spiritual quality of life (d = .29), but did not find any moderating effects.


Psychosocial interventions have small but significant effects on outcomes related to religion or spirituality. Yoga, meaning-centered therapy, and life review therapy may be particularly useful interventions for cancer patients for improving outcomes in these important domains.

Key Words

Neoplasms, therapy, quality of life

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