Physician Religion and End-of-Life Pediatric Care: A Qualitative Examination of Physicians' Perspectives

Academic Article


  • Physician religion/spirituality has the potential to influence the communication between physicians and parents of children at the end of life. In order to explore this relationship, the authors conducted two rounds of narrative interviews to examine pediatric physicians' perspectives (N=17) of how their religious/spiritual beliefs affect end-of-life communication and care. Grounded theory informed the design and analysis of the study. As a proxy for religiosity/spirituality, physicians were classified into the following groups based on the extent to which religious/spiritual language was infused into their responses: Religiously Rich Responders (RRR), Moderately Religious Responders (MRR), and Low Religious Responders (LRR). Twelve of the 17 participants (71%) were classified into the RRR or MRR groups. The majority of participants suggested that religion/spirituality played a role in their practice of medicine and communication with parents in a myriad of ways and to varying degrees. Participants used their religious/spiritual beliefs to support families' spirituality, uphold hope, participate in prayer, and alleviate their own emotional distress emerging from their patients' deaths.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bateman LB; Clair JM
  • Start Page

  • 251
  • End Page

  • 269
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 3