“This project examines how women’s religious/spiritual lives change after a terminal health diagnosis. ”
This project investigates how religiosity/spirituality changes after women are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). An MBC diagnosis is terminal, the only stage of breast cancer from which people die, and has a high mortality rate. MBC patients are constantly in treatment and undergoing medical tests. Many patients do not hold jobs, leading to financial pressures. Because of extensive changes in people’s lives after an MBC diagnosis, their faith may grow or diminish. To examine how faith changes, I utilize surveys and interviews with women who have MBC. Utilizing both surveys and interviews illuminate the breadth and depth of complex cancer experiences that neither method could capture alone. Survey data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistical models examining for whom religion/spirituality changed and how. Interview data will be coded for the content of religious/spiritual changes. The rich data set resulting from this project will form the basis of several papers and presentations that will increase our understanding of how religion/spirituality may change after a terminal health diagnosis with a poor prognosis that overwhelmingly affects women. Implications for ministry to MBC patients and their families, prayer and life groups, and end-of-life spiritual needs will be discussed. This grant would provide resources for me to have interviews professionally transcribed, consult with a statistical expert to analyze survey data, and devote time to writing articles for academic and public dissemination.