Spiritual Beliefs, Illness Controllability and Subjective Wellbeing of Breast Cancer Patients

  • Purnima Awasthi Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221 005, Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • Bithika Agrawal Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Arya Mahila Post Graduate College, Varanasi 221 005, Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • U.P. Shahi Professor & Former Head, Department of Radiotherapy & Radiation Medicine,IMS, BHU, Varanasi 221 005, Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • Sanjay Saxena Professor, School of Management Sciences, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Keywords: Spiritual Beliefs; Illness Controllability; Subjective Wellbeing; Health Outcomes; Breast Cancer


The present study examines the relationship of spiritual beliefs (karma or action, generosity, surrender to almighty, altruism) and illness controllability beliefs (self, doctor, supernatural) with subjective well-being and health outcomes of women patients (N = 100) suffering from breast cancer. Participants were drawn from various medical centers and hospitals located in Varanasi city. These participants were given the measures of spiritual beliefs, illness controllability beliefs, life satisfaction, and health outcomes. Analysis showed a positive association of beliefs in “Karma” and “altruism” with “life-satisfaction” and “positive health outcomes” (e.g., hope, functional
wellbeing, treatment satisfaction), and negatively with “pain” and “severity” of illness. “Self” and “doctor-control” showed a positive association with “life-satisfaction”, “hope”, “functional-wellbeing”, and “treatment- satisfaction” and negative with “pain” and “severity”. Beliefs in “Karma” and ‘altruism”, and “self” and “doctor-control” emerged as significant predictors of “life-satisfaction” and “positive health outcomes” of women patients