VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

7 6 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 4 Discussion Based on the studies by Milam et al . (in Hafnidar, Chang and Lin 2012, 239), we assume there is a positive correlation be - tween the religiousness and posttraumatic growth. All three religious orientation subscales correlated positively with the posttraumatic growth, with the correlation being the strongest in case of intrinsic religiousness. It can be said that the individuals with intrinsic religiousness find a meaning in religion that makes it easier for them to cope with a trau - matic event, such as cancer. They might view their illness as a challenge or an opportunity to deepen their faith and to gain a better understanding of their spiritual needs. If an in - dividual copes with a traumatic event, they can perceive their faith as stronger, or, on the other hand, as Pearce, Singer and Prigerson (2006, 744) claim, the religious practice helps an individual to try to cope with a traumatic event, as the reli - giousness plays an important role in cognitive processing of the event. We also assumed that the religious cancer patients would show higher levels of posttraumatic growth as opposed to the non-religious ones. Our findings are in line with those of Hafnidar, Chang and Lin (2012, 239). We believe that religion and faith themselves provide individuals with anchorage and hope, which help them to overcome a traumatic event in their lives. In our view, the religiousness seems to be an important aspect in cognitive processing of and coping with a negative event, which cancer definitely is. Our goal was to explore the differences in posttraumatic growth between the cancer patients undergoing treatment and cancer survivors. Our findings show that cancer survivors achieved more positive changes in the domains of relation- ships with others, new opportunities, personal development, and spiritual change as opposed to the cancer patients who were undergoing treatment at the time. We believe that the reason might be the fact that many patients undergoing treatment are not able to transform their negative emotions to positive ones yet. On the contrary, cancer survivors may see their experience with the benefit of hindsight and rise above it to a certain extent. Being a traumatic event, cancer represents a set of bio-psy - cho-social and existential-spiritual changes that affect one’s life. However, apart from a negative impact, this illness also has a positive impact on further life of an individual. 5 Conclusion It can be concluded that there is a medium-strong relation - ship between the posttraumatic growth and practicing of faith in cancer patients and cancer survivors. It can mean that practicing of spirituality can help patients to cope with the disease better because religious patients achieved higher level of posttraumatic growth to compared to nonreligious patients. And one aspect of posttraumatic growth is also spiritual change. We believe it is necessary to study this top- ic further, since the number of cancer diagnoses is on the increase. And therefore, we can assert that spirituality and practicing the faith can be very useful to cope with the can- cer disease because cancer survivors achieved higher level of spiritual change compared to treated patients. The study was limited by an uneven number of male and female participants, which might be related to the impact of the diagnosis on patient’s experience. In further research in this area, we also recommend focusing on the stage of cancer, manner of its treatment as well as on the influence of psycho-social-spiritual support of cancer patients. Acknowledgment The study originated as a partial outcome of the project VEGA 1/0305/18.

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