The Influence of Parents' Religiosity or Spirituality on Decision Making for Their Critically Ill Child: An Integrative Review

Melissa Kurtz Uveges, Jill B. Hamilton, Kelli Depriest, Renee Boss, Pamela S. Hinds, Marie T. Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Background: Religion and/or spirituality are important values for many parents of critically ill children; however, how religion and/or spirituality may influence which treatments parents accept or decline for their child, or how they respond to significant events during their child's illness treatment, remains unclear. Objective: To summarize the literature related to the influence of parents' religiosity or spirituality on decision making for their critically ill child. Design: Integrative review, using the Whittemore and Knafl approach. Setting/Subjects: Data were collected from studies identified through PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL plus), Embase, Scopus, and PsychInfo. Databases were searched to identify literature published between 1996 and 2016. Results: Twenty-four articles of variable methodological quality met inclusion criteria. Analysis generated three themes: parents' religiosity or spirituality as (1) guidance during decision making, (2) comfort and support during the decision-making process, and (3) a source of meaning, purpose, and connectedness in the experience of decision making. Conclusion: This review suggests that parents' religiosity and/or spirituality is an important and primarily positive influence on their decision making for a critically ill child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1455-1467
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019



  • decision making
  • integrative review
  • intensive/critical care
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Cite this