World-first study on spiritual wellbeing

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Daffodils against a blue sky.
Photo by iStock.

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A University of Adelaide researcher is conducting a world-first study to further our understanding of how spiritual wellbeing affects quality of life for those affected by cancer.

The study, being conducted for Cancer Council Australia, will seek to measure the importance of feelings such as hope, love, peace and forgiveness and their impact on patients' emotional and physical wellbeing - such as energy levels and pain - at different stages of the cancer journey.

Cancer patients, survivors, friends, family members, professional and informal carers and even those who have never been affected by cancer are sought to take part in an online questionnaire.

Cancer Council Australia researcher Dr Hayley Whitford, based at the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology, and Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Ian Olver will analyse the information provided to determine which aspects of spiritual wellbeing, including the less acknowledged aspects such as appreciation and connectedness, are the most important in improving cancer patients' resilience and quality of life.

Professor Olver says it's an important area of research for anyone coping with, or treating, cancer.

"This study builds on a decade of research on hope and spiritual wellbeing and is the first of its kind to attempt to psychometrically assess the underlying aspects of spiritual wellbeing such as love, peace, meaning and faith, and how they each affect people's resilience against depression, anxiety and stress," he says.

"It's also unique because it aims to compare the experiences of people at different stages of the cancer journey and which aspects of wellbeing are the most important at which stage. This will help us better support the emotional needs of cancer patients and their families in the areas they need it most, when they need it most."

If you are aged 18 or over, whether you have had a diagnosis of cancer, are a cancer survivor, have been a carer of someone with cancer, or even if you have never had a cancer experience, you can take part in the research by simply completing an online questionnaire now and again in six months.

Find out more and complete the questionnaire at:


Contact Details

Dr Hayley Whitford
Visiting Research Fellow
School of Psychology
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0480
Mobile: 0403 023 443

Abby Samuel
Media Manager
Cancer Council Australia
Business: +61 2 8063 4153
Mobile: 0432 693 315

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762