Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Susan C. Mcmillan, Ph.D.


Oncology, Nursing, Psycho-social, Psycho-oncology, Psychology


Anxiety is a common problem for cancer patients, especially those who must receive chemotherapy. Anxiety may have a negative effect on quality of life, interrupting sleep, causing uncomfortable physical symptoms, and inhibiting sound decision-making. This study examined the relationship between spiritual well-being and anxiety in patients on chemotherapy for cancer. The convenience sample consisted of 30 patients, 15 male and 15 female, receiving chemotherapy in a two physician private medical oncology practice in Southwest Florida. Patients completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well- Being Scale.

Participants ranged in age from 31 to 88, with a mean age of 59.7 years. Almost 60% were getting chemotherapy with the goal of slowing down the growth of Cancer (n=15) or relief of symptoms (n=2) and did not consider their cancer to be curable. Participants had been given an average of 15 chemotherapy treatments. Ninety percent were Catholic or non-Catholic Christian. Sixty percent were not heavily involved in organized religion. The results of this study show strong negative relationships between spiritual well-being and both state anxiety (r= -0.463, p=0.010) and trait anxiety (r= -0.524, p=0.003). A strong positive relationship was found between level of involvement inorganized religion and level of spiritual well-being (r= 0.545, p=0.002). Trait anxiety was also significantly negatively associated with involvement in organized religion (r= -0.38, p=0.037). Although the sample size was small and homogenous, the results support findings of previous studies. This study is important for nursing because it examines key aspects of psychological distress in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Findings suggest the need for evidence-based studies focusing on designing appropriate assessment and pertinent interventions.