Spiritual inquiry and well-being in life-limiting illness

Pamela G. Reed, Elaine Rousseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: End of life, as a developmental phase, is accompanied by inner resources as well as losses. Spirituality is a potential inner resource for integrating illness that often occurs during this time. Despite the increase in spirituality research, how spiritual perspectives are used in life-limiting illness remains under-investigated. Better knowledge about this process may be useful for health care providers, family caregivers and patients themselves to enhance well-being at end of life. This study describes the process of how patients and family caregivers use their spiritual resources to facilitate well-being at the end of life. Method: A qualitative study was designed, based upon the grounded theory method, that entails theoretical sampling of concepts (not sampling of people as in quantitative designs), and the analytic technique of constant comparison of the data until conceptual categories are saturated with supporting data and a theory can be identified. The sample consisted of 12 respondents: 6 dyads of elderly patients with a life-limiting illness and family caregivers. Interviews occurred over a 2-year period. Results: Data analysis generated a theory about a process called "transcending life-limiting illness," which derived from two related themes: spiritual inquiry and end-of-life dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-98
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007


  • End of life
  • Life-limiting illness
  • Self-transcendence
  • Spiritual perspective
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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