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"Spirituality" hardly facilitates our understanding of existential distress - but "everyday life" might
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9998-2574
2018 (English)In: Psycho-Oncology, ISSN 1057-9249, E-ISSN 1099-1611, Vol. 27, no 11, p. 2654-2656Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The existential predicament of being human might come to the fore when we are stricken by cancer, perhaps primarily because we are removed from the shelter inherent in our routines of everyday life. These routines might help us to deal with the ultimate concerns of life, ie, isolation, freedom, meaninglessness, and death.1 We recognise these conceptualisations from European existential philosophy. However, instead of discussing the existential challenge in these terms, it has become far more popular in the scientific literature to instead make use of “spirituality” as a frame of reference. Broadly speaking, there has been a roughly 26‐fold increase in the number of papers focused on “spirituality” from the 1980s to the 2000s,2 and nearly all studies on “spiritual care” have emanated from the United States and the United Kingdom.3

In this paper, I will briefly scrutinise the concept of “spirituality” first by critically reflecting on how the concept is constructed, defined, and made use of; in other words, what are “spirituality” researchers talking about? Second, I will question its validity, and third I will question the legitimacy of the cherished research concluding that “spirituality” alleviates distress and promotes well‐being. Finally, I will briefly, as roughly outlined above, suggest that “everyday life,” a bottom‐up perspective grounded in the patients' way of living their lives, might be a more fruitful conceptualisation that we should pay attention to in order to widen our scope when it comes to understanding how patients deal with distress.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2018. Vol. 27, no 11, p. 2654-2656
Keywords [en]
cancer, everyday life, spirituality
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147916DOI: 10.1002/pon.4784PubMedID: 29843191Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85055996603OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-147916DiVA, id: diva2:1209152
Available from: 2018-05-22 Created: 2018-05-22 Last updated: 2018-11-12Bibliographically approved

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Salander, Pär

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