The paradox of living with dying: A mixed methods study about three end-of-life issues - Faith and faith development, hope and shame
The purpose of thi study was to inve ti ga te how people over the age of 50 yea rs experience and talk about their dying in terms of three i ue : faith and faith development, hope, and shame. Through a mi xed methods research strategy, thi researcher gathered qualitative interview data from 10 fragile and older men and women based on questions drawn from Fowler's Stage of Faith Development (1995). The data was content analyzed using procedures outlined in Fowler's Faith Development Sco~·ing Analysis and Mapping and yielded four faith stages : Mythic-Literal (stage 2), SyntheticConventional (stage 3), lndividuative-Reflective (stage 4), and Conjunctive (stage 5). Analysis of the interview data yielded several key i ues concerning the meaningfulness of church and families; faith and belief in God; and living a good life by being honest, kind, and loving. Two quantitative self-report instruments, Snyder Adult Hope Scale (SAHS-R; Snyder, 1991) and Internal Shame Scale (lSS; Cook, 2001 ), were administered orally to the participants during the interviews. A hypothesis that no significant relationship among respondents ' level of faith development, shame ( as measured by their scores on the ISS), and hope (as rnea ured by sco res on the AH ) wa r jected a th re was no ignifi cant difference in the comparisons. A hypothes is that there is no significant differenc betwe n participant ' degree of hope and hame wa rej cted, as a dep ndent t-te t yield d a stati tically significant difference (p .00 l ). This re archer conclud d that parti cipant reported more hope than shame at the end o f their li ves . In summary, this res archer found that li ving in one' dying was th underlying theme for each of the ten indi viduals who part icipated in thi s study about faith and fa ith development, hope, and hame. Thi re earch tudy supports the finding that end-of- life issues about faith and fa ith development, and hope are ~ritically important to the meaning of life for people who are near the end of th ir live . For the indi vidual in thi s study, shame as meas ured by th ISS proved to have less importance on the research outcomes. This researcher concluded that fa ith and fai th development, and hope are important topics when professionals and families are talking with older adults who are near their end of life.