Demoralization in oral cancer inpatients and its association with spiritual needs, quality of life, and suicidal ideation: a cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background: Demoralization is a common problem in oral cancer patients owing to the chronic and severe nature of their affliction. However, the association between demoralization and the patient’s spiritual needs, quality of life, and suicidal ideation remains unclear. This study aims to provide insights into possible links between demoralization among oral cancer patients and its effects on the patient’s spiritual needs, quality of life, and suicidal ideation. Methods: We examined 155 Taiwanese oral cancer inpatients in Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, using the following three rating scales: (a) Demoralization Scale Mandarin Version (DS-MV), (b) Spiritual Interests Related to Illness Tool, and (c) The Taiwan Chinese versions of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire. Suicidal ideation was established if at least one of the two suicide-related items on the DS-MV scale were checked. We divided the participants into high- and low-demoralization groups, per the cutoff score of 30. We then explored group associations with sociodemographic features, quality of life, and spiritual needs. Logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to determine demoralization and its association between these variables. Results: Fifty-five (35.5%) patients were categorized as having high demoralization (DS-MV scale score > 30), with scores for DS-MV for all patients being 27.2 ± 16.8. The rates of suicidal ideation were 29.1% (16/55) in the high-demoralization group and 2% (2/100) in the low-demoralization group, with an odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 20.10 (4.41–91.55). Logistic regression analysis revealed significant effects of spiritual needs and global health status on the DS-MV scores (p < 0.001). Multivariate analyses further confirmed that only overall quality of life scores < 62.5 and spiritual needs < 3.7 significantly predicted the occurrence of high demoralization. Conclusion: High demoralization is associated with low satisfaction with spiritual needs, poor quality of life, and high risk of suicidal ideation. DS-MV may potentially be an effective tool for achieving holistic health care among oral cancer patients.

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Chang, T. G., Huang, P. C., Hsu, C. Y., & Yen, T. T. (2022). Demoralization in oral cancer inpatients and its association with spiritual needs, quality of life, and suicidal ideation: a cross-sectional study. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-022-01962-6

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