Spirituality, Quality of Life, and Depression in The Elderly Who is Dementia

Spirituality, Quality of Life, and Depression 


Introduction 

According to Rivier, Hongler, and Sutter (2008), spirituality is a human cognitive approach that seeks to give meaning to life, to set values, and sometimes to seek transcendence, resulting in spiritual identity. This is part of human development, especially in adults and the elderly. For Dalby (2006), spirituality corresponds to a search for meaning and purpose at a time of life when earlier sources of meaning and purpose may be diminishing. 

Thus, one of the major functions of spirituality is to bring peace and serenity when faced with life’s difficulties. Several studies have highlighted that positive effects of spirituality on mental health can be expected (Ellison & Fan, 2008; Moon & Kim, 2013). In the elderly, these benefits can also be observed. 

Spirituality would allow a better quality of life and greater well-being (Koenig, 1994), while also decreasing stress (Levin, 1996) and depression (Koenig et al., 1992). To evaluate spirituality, Peterman, Fitchett, Brady, Hernandez, and Cella (2002) developed a brief, reliable, valid measure of spiritual well-being, the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Spiritual Well-being Scale (FACIT-Sp). A few years later, a short version was created (Canada, Murphy, Fitchett, & Peterman, 2008): the FACIT-Sp12 item. 

Recent work focusing on spirituality has revealed a multidimensional conception of this construct based on three dimensions: mean, peace, and faith (Canada et al., 2008; Peterman et al., 2002). Studies show that this three-factor model provides more specific information about the relationship between spiritual well-being and health-related quality of life (Lazenby, Khatib, Al-Khair, & Neamat, 2013; Murphy et al., 2010). They also highlighted that peace and mean factors measure more universal aspects of spirituality that transcended religion-specific beliefs, as measured by the faith factor.

Method 

Participants 

Sixty-one participants between 65 and 98 years old living in four nursing homes in the Centre region in France were recruited. Participants who had psychotic or addictive disorders (particularly alcoholism) were excluded. The common inclusion criterion was age 65 or older. The experimental design of this study involved dividing the participants into two groups: a test group that represented participants with dementia, and a control group for comparison.

Procedure 

The study protocol was approved by the management of the nursing homes. Each participant was informed that his or her participation in the study was voluntary and anonymous. The families and/or guardians of the participants with dementia were also notified of the progress of the protocol. An information document and a written consent form were signed in duplicate.

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