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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 841061, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/841061
Research Article

Divine Love and Deep Connections: A Long-Term Followup of Patients Surviving Cardiac Surgery

1Department of Family Medicine, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, 2028 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
2Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 7180 Highland Drive (151 C-H), Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA
3Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Suite F1264, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Received 11 January 2011; Revised 3 March 2011; Accepted 19 March 2011

Academic Editor: J. Woo

Copyright © 2011 Amy L. Ai and Daniel E. Hall. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We examined experiencing divine love as an indicator of affective spiritual growth in a prospective cohort of 200 patients surviving cardiac surgery. These patients previously completed two-wave preoperative interviews when standardized cardiac surgery data were also collected. The information included left ventricular ejection fraction, New York Heart Association Classification, baseline health (physical and mental), optimism, hope, religiousness, prayer coping, religious/spiritual coping, and demographics. We then measured divine love at 900 days postoperatively. Hierarchical linear regression indicated the direct effect of positive religious coping on experiences of divine love, controlling for other key variables. Postoperatively perceived spiritual support was entered at the final step as an explanatory factor, which appeared to mediate the coping effect. None of the other faith factors predicted divine love. Further research regarding divine love and spiritual support may eventually guide clinical attempts to support patients' spiritual growth as an independently relevant outcome of cardiac surgery.