The Effects of Spiritual-Religious Intervention on Anxiety Level of the Family Members of Patients in ICU Ward

AUTHORS

Mahmood Rahmati 1 , Behnam Khaledi 2 , Mahvash Kahrizi 3 , Anahita Haydarian 4 , * , Mohammad-Rafi Bazrafshan 5

1 Psychiatric Nursing Department, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah, IR Iran

2 Psychiatric Nursing Department, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sleep Disorders Research Centre, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah, IR Iran

3 Department of Theology and Islamic Sciences, School of Medicine, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah, IR Iran

4 M.Sc. Student of Critical Care Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah, IR Iran

5 Department of Nursing, School of Nursing, Larestan University of Medical Sciences, Larestan, IR Iran

How to Cite: Rahmati M, Khaledi B, Kahrizi M, Haydarian A, Bazrafshan M. The Effects of Spiritual-Religious Intervention on Anxiety Level of the Family Members of Patients in ICU Ward, Jentashapir J Cell Mol Biol. 2017 ; 8(3):e59148. doi: 10.5812/jjhr.59148.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Jentashapir Journal of Health Research: 8 (3); e59148
Published Online: May 31, 2017
Article Type: Research Article
Received: April 30, 2017
Accepted: May 29, 2017
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Abstract

Background: Among the factors effective on the mental health of individuals, family is one of the most important. Hospitalization of a member of the family might cause anxiety and mental problems. Seeking spiritual support, belief in God, and praying are some of the methods that the family members may adopt to deal with the stressors.

Objectives: The present study is an attempt to survey the effects of spiritual-religious intervention on anxiety level in the family members of patients in the ICU ward.

Methods: The study was carried out as a semi-experimental study in which 34 family members of critically ill patients in ICU took part. The subjects were selected through convenient sampling and randomly grouped in intervention (n = 17) and control (n = 17) groups. The subjects in the intervention group received religious-spiritual intervention through a course with eight group meetings (45 - 60 minutes; three times a week). Anxiety of the participants was measured using Spielberger’s Test Anxiety Inventory before and after the intervention. The collected data was analyzed in SPSS (V.20).

Results: There was a significant difference in anxiety scores of the intervention group before and after the intervention (P < 0.001). On the other hand, no significant difference was observed in the control group before and after the intervention (P = 0.053).

Conclusions: The findings indicated effectiveness of the spiritual-religious intervention on attenuation of anxiety in the family members of patients in the ICU. Therefore, nurses in ICU can utilize such inexpensive methods to decrease anxiety in the family members of patients.

Keywords

Anxiety Family ICU Spirituality

Copyright © 2017, Jentashapir Journal of Health Research. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited

1. Background

Taking the family into account is one of the main elements of health care (1-4). This means, the key role played by the family members for the patient is as important as the patient. Clearly, the nurses need to adopt different methods to recognize the needs of the patient’s family before dealing with anxiety and stress in the family (5-8). Health is one of top concerns and priority for human societies (9). According to statistics published by the Iranian Society of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, every year 1.5 - 2 million individuals are hospitalized due to road accidents, stroke, and the like and 30% of them are hospitalized in an ICU. Finding a loved one in a threatening and stressful environment of ICU and all those complex devices and technology attached to them cause mental and spiritual pressures in the family members (10-13). The patient is hospitalized in an ICU ward in which most of the patients are critically ill or in their death beds (14-16). Nursing care to prevent anxiety in family members of the patient in an ICU is an important key issue. Given that prevention is always better than treatment, preventing anxiety is highly critical whether from social or health point of view (12, 17-21). Spiritual interventions help individuals adapt directly and facilitates treatment and recovery process indirectly through improving mental peace and providing relief from mental pressures caused by the disease. Human experience in all cultures indicates that man always seeks help from a holy and divine source in the face of critical situations and diseases in particular so that spirituality becomes more important in hardships (22-27). Spiritual intervention along with other nursing intervention creates a balance among the body, psyche, and spirituality, which leads to complete health from different aspects (28-32).

2. Objectives

Nurses need to examine spiritual needs as a part of the community-based care. Given the key role and importance of the family for patients, the family must be as imports as the patient in the care intervention. In light of this, the present study is an attempt to survey the effect of spiritual-religious aspect on anxiety of family members of the patients in ICU.

3. Methods

The study was carried out as a semi-experimental work and the effects of spiritual-religious intervention on anxiety level of the family members of the patients in ICU in 2015 were examined.

Sample size was obtained based on the formula for comparing mean score of a quantitative trait between 2 groups with level of confidence of 95% and test power of 90%. Other parameters of the formula were adopted based on a similar study (22). Minimum sample size for each group was obtained equal to 10 (totally 20 subjects needed). Taking into account probable leaves during the course of study, 17 participants were selected for each group. The participants were selected through convenient sampling method and then they were grouped randomly. Inclusion criteria were desire to participate, no hearing and visual impairment, more than 18 years of age, hardly curable disease of the patient, reading/writing literacy, and belief in Islam. In addition, the person accompanied the patient during the study was required to be a family member (e.g. spouse, child, or parent).

Exclusion criteria included leaving the study, discharge from the hospital or death, and missing more than one intervention sessions.

Study tool was Spielberger’s state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) consisting of 40 questions (20 on anxiety state and 20 on anxiety trait). State anxiety scale is comprised of 20 statements that evaluate the respondent at the moment of filling out the questionnaire. Trait anxiety scale is also comprised of 20 statements about general and ordinary feelings. The respondent is needed to choose one alternative for each question that describes them the best (1: very low, 2: low, 3: high, 4: very high). Minimum and maximum scores of the both scales are 20 and 80, respectively. Consistency coefficient of the test based on Cronbach’s alpha was obtained equal to 0.66.

After securing required permissions from the officials of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (research plan code: 74252; ethics code: kums.rec.1394.39), the author visited the potential participants and gave them a brief introduction to the objectives and process of the study. The participants were randomly grouped into the control and intervention groups. Anxiety of the participants before the intervention was measured using STAI. Then, group spiritual-religious intervention sessions were held for the intervention group (eight sessions; 45 – 60 minutes, three times a week) based on Richards and Bergin’s method with emphasis on Islamic rules. The content of the course was approved by religious experts beforehand.

The spiritual religious interventions included; 1- creating a trustful, sympathetic, and honest relationship with the nurse as the basis for an effective relationship throughout the course; 2- listening attentively to physical problems, mental concerns, and worries of the patients’ family; 3- providing required spiritual support for the family members; 4- strengthening hope and inner force of the participants; 5- using positive sentences and promoting healthy and productive thoughts; 6- helping the family members to find a meaning in the disease assuming that none of the events in life are beyond God’s will; 7- motivating the subjects to pray, chant, and read the Holy Quran; 8- encouraging the subjects to express their religious beliefs; 9- encouraging the subjects to consult with religious experts (clergymen); 10- encouraging the family members to visit those with whom they feel calm and peace; 11- ensuring the family members that the nurse will be always available for providing spiritual and mental supports; 12- repenting and asking God’s forgiveness for the past sins and forgiving others for their faults and sins; 13- encouraging the family members to find the joy of listening to music; 14- encouraging the family members to create friendly relationships with friends and others; and 15- encouraging the family members to participate in religious and community activities and services.

After the intervention, the questionnaire was filled out once more by the participants in the control and intervention groups. In observance of ethics, the intervention package was prepared in an educational CD and provided to the participants in the control group after the study.

4. Results

Internal consistency results based on chi squared (for qualitative variables) and independent t-test (for quantitative variables) showed no significant statistical difference between the control and intervention groups in terms of age of the patient, age of the family members, religion, job, income, number of children, and place of living; therefore, the both groups were homogenous with regard to these variables (P > 0.05).

The results of comparing mean scores of STAI in the control and intervention groups before and after the intervention are listed in the (Tables 1 and 2). Results of independent t-test in Table 1 showed that the mean scores of total Spielberger’s anxiety in the intervention and control groups before the intervention were 117.41 and 111.88, respectively; which means that there was no significant difference in term of anxiety score between the two groups before the intervention (P = 0.398).

Table 1. Mean score of STAI in the Control and Intervention Groups Before the Intervention (2015)
Spielberger’s AnxietyGroupMean Score ± SDDfIndependent T-TestP ValueLevel of Confidence = 95%
Upper LimitLower Limit
State anxietyIntervention62.53 ± 2.10321.830.07712.80-0.684
Control56.74 ± 2.56
Trait anxietyIntervention54.88 ± 2.4832-0.1490.8836.71-7.769
Control55.14 ± 2.56
TotalIntervention117.41 ± 4.189320.8570.39818.68-7.617
Control111.88 ± 4.909
Table 2. Mean Score of STAI in the Control and Intervention Groups After the Intervention (2015)
Spielberger’s AnxietyGroupMean Score ± SDDfIndependent T-TestP ValueLevel of Confidence = 95%
Upper LimitLower Limit
State anxietyIntervention43.18 ± 1.82-3.60832< 0.001-4.560-16.381
Control53.65 ± 2.26
Trait anxietyIntervention41.00 ± 2.41-3.94732< 0.001-5.978-18.727
Control53.35 ± 2
TotalIntervention84.18 ± 4.083-4.05632< 0.001-11.362-34.285
Control107.00 ± 3.872

As listed in Table 2, the mean score and SD of state anxiety in the intervention and control groups are 43.18 ± 1.82 and 53.65 ± 2.26, respectively. Moreover, the mean score and SD of trait anxiety in the intervention and control groups are 41.00 ± 2.41 and 53.35 ± 2, respectively. The result support a significant relationship between these variables (P < 0.001).

Also, mean scores of STAI before and after the intervention for the intervention and control groups are listed in Table 3 and 4). As listed in Table 3, there is a significant difference between mean score and SD of state anxiety in the intervention group before (62.53 ± 2.10) and after (43.18 ± 1.82) the intervention (P < 0.001). Moreover, there is a significant difference between mean and standard deviation of trait anxiety in the intervention group before (54.88 ± 2.48) and after (41.00 ± 2.41) the intervention (P < 0.001). Finally, based on paired t-test, there is a significant difference between mean score and standard deviation of total anxiety in the intervention group before (117.41 ± 4.189) and after (84.18 ± 4.083) the intervention.

Table 3. Mean Score of STAI Before and After the Intervention in the Intervention Group (2015)
Spielberger’s AnxietyIntervention GroupMean Score ± SDDfIndependent T-TestP ValueLevel of Confidence = 95%
Upper LimitLower Limit
State anxietyBefore62.53 ± 2.108.04516< 0.001-14.25-45.24
After43.18 ± 1.82
Trait anxietyBefore54.88 ± 2.485.51516< 0.001-8.546-19.22
After41.000 ± 2.41
TotalBefore117.41 ± 4.1897.20816< 0.001-23.46-43.01
After84.18 ± 4.083
Table 4. Mean Score of Spielberger’s Test Anxiety Inventory Before and After the Intervention in the Control Group (2015)
Spielberger’s AnxietyControl GroupMean Score ± SDDfIndependent T-TestP ValueLevel of Confidence = 95%
Upper LimitLower Limit
State anxietyBefore56.47 ± 2.56-1.96160.0680.236-5.88
After53.65 ± 2.26
Trait anxietyBefore55.41 ± 2.56-1.56160.1400.748-4.87
After53.35 ± 2
TotalBefore111.88 ± 4.909-2.09160.0530.082-9.85
After107.00 ± 3.872

As listed in the (Table 4), there is no significant difference between mean score and SD of state anxiety in the control group before (56.47 ± 2.56) and after (53.65 ± 2.26) the intervention (P < 0.068). Moreover, based on paired t-test, there is no significant difference between mean score and SD of trait anxiety in the control group before (55.41 ± 2.56) and after (53.35 ± 2) the intervention (P < 0.140). Finally, here is no significant difference between mean score and SD of total anxiety in the control group before (111.88 ± 4.909) and after (107.00 ± 3.872) the intervention (P = 0.053).

5. Discussion

The effects of spiritual-religious intervention on anxiety in family of the patients in ICU was examined. Family nursing in ICU not only helps the family but also helps the patient; however in practice, only the patient receives all the attention (5, 10, 12, 14, 21, 33). The patient and their family must be considered as one unit and the latter must not be neglected in favor of the former (34, 35). Therefore, the role that the family plays for the patient must be considered in a nursing care program as important as the patient. Clearly, nurses need to adopt different methods to recognize the needs of the family and attenuate anxiety and stress in it (5, 10). Spiritual intervention among other nursing intervention leads to a balance among the body, psyche, and spirituality, which leads to a complete health from all aspects. Thereby, nurses need to survey the spiritual needs as a part of community-based care (28-32).

Comparison of anxiety in family members of ICU patients in the intervention and control groups before and after spiritual-religious intervention indicated no significant difference in mean score of anxiety in two groups before the intervention. There was a high level of anxiety in the both groups. Consistent with our findings, Bandari et al. (36), Rabie et al. (10), and Pochard et al. (37) confirmed a high level of anxiety in family members of the patients in ICU.

Usually, the family members of patients face anxiety due to variety of causes and factors. Watching all those pipes and wires attached to their loved one, visiting their patient through a wall of glass, limitations on face to face visit, fragile financial condition and concerns about costs of medical services, and changes in the roles are some of the factors effective on increase in the risk of anxiety in family (10, 14). Therefore, an ICU is a stressful environment for the patient and the relatives so that people tend to suffer high level of anxiety when they experience such an environment. Another explanation for high level of stress in ICU is that most of the patients in ICU are critically ill or in their death beds (10, 14-16).

The results also showed a significant difference between mean scores of anxiety of the intervention and control groups after the intervention. Stress in family members after the intervention in the intervention group decreased significantly. Consistent with our results, Schleder et al. showed that, more than negative strategies of spiritual-religious adaptation, family members of the patients in ICU tend to use positive strategies of spiritual-religious adaptation. In addition, all the participants believed in God and stated that spirituality was helpful for them to adapt to the stress of experiencing one of their loved ones being hospitalized (38). Bazrafshan et al. showed that religious beliefs function as a defense against psychological problems and self-harming behaviors. By educating such adaptation strategies, the nurses can help individuals prone to mental problems (39, 40). Tajbakhsh et al. showed that utilizing spiritual-religious care attenuated anxiety after a coronary artery bypass surgery (28). Ghahari et al. indicated that religious-spiritual interventions, given the preventive effect of spirituality and religion against mental disorders, can be highly helpful for cancer patients to deal with depression and anxiety (41). Lotfi Kashani et al. stated that spiritual interventions were effective on decreasing anxiety in the mothers of children with cancer (42). Thereby and based on the findings, spiritual-religious interventions are effective on decreasing anxiety in the family of patients in ICU. This result is consistent with other studies (22, 28, 38, 41, 42).

The findings indicated effectiveness of the spiritual-religious intervention on attenuation of anxiety in the family members of patients in ICU. Therefore, nurses in ICU can utilize such inexpensive methods to decrease anxiety in the family members of patients.

Acknowledgements

Footnote

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