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Peggy E. Gallaher


Posttraumatic growth is a positive psychological transformation resulting from the struggle to cope with a challenging life event. There is a significant association between prayer coping functions and posttraumatic growth, but its process remains unclear and studies on informal hospice caregivers are scarce. The purpose of this quantitative, correlational, cross-sectional study was to explore the relationship between prayer functions and posttraumatic growth among informal caregivers while considering differences due to the caregiving environment and prayer practices. The shattered assumptions theory and model of growth in grief were used as a theoretical framework to evaluate the relationship between prayer functions, using the Prayer Functions Scale, and posttraumatic growth, using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, among 255 informal caregivers who cared for their terminally ill loved ones in home or hospital hospice settings. Hierarchical linear regression revealed a statistically significant relationship between the prayer functions subscale, praying for calm and focus, and overall posttraumatic growth, while controlling for age group and gender. Multivariate test results indicated statistically significant differences between a) home and hospital informal hospice caregivers in posttraumatic growth subscales: new possibilities, spiritual change, and appreciation of life, and b) informal hospice caregivers who prayed and did not pray in posttraumatic growth subscales: relating to others, new possibilities, and spiritual change. These results may afford healthcare providers, researchers, and policy makers a deeper awareness of prayer functions that encourage posttraumatic growth and contribute to positive social change.

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