Participation in Existential Groups Led by Norwegian Healthcare Chaplains-Relations to Psychological Distress, Crisis of Meaning and Meaningfulness

Hilde Frokedal*, Hans Stifoss-Hanssen, Valerie DeMarinis, Torleif Ruud, Anja Visser, Torgeir Sorensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Spirituality groups led by healthcare chaplains have been found to aid patients' recovery processes in US psychiatric units. In Norway, existential groups (EGs) led by healthcare chaplains and co-led by healthcare staff members are offered at psychiatric units; these groups share commonalities with spirituality groups, group psychotherapy, existential therapy and clinical pastoral care, facilitating patients' reflections regarding existential, spiritual and religious issues. The study aimed to examine associations between patients' participation and topics discussed in the EGs and their experiences of psychological distress, crisis of meaning and meaningfulness. A cross-sectional design was applied among 157 patients attending EGs led by healthcare chaplains across Norway. Multivariate regression analyses assessed the strength of possible associations, adjusted for relevant demographical variables. Significant association was found between lengthier EG participation and lower levels of psychological distress, while discussion topics concerning religious and spiritual issues were significantly associated with the experience of meaningfulness.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal for the Psychology of Religion
    Issue number1
    Early online date11-Mar-2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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