Research Group Existential Distress in Severe Illness

  • Description
  • Description

    Our research focuses on psychological challenges in chronic and life-limiting medical illness. We investigate how patients and caregivers cope with an uncertain future, altered social roles and the fear of death and dying. We examine the psychological distress related to these challenges and interventions to address such existential suffering.

    In this context, we investigate demoralization, death anxiety, the loss of a sense of dignity and suicidal ideation in patients with advanced cancer. We aim to better understand psychological adaptation to a foreshortened life expectancy and its facilitation through meaning-focused interventions. A further goal is to conceptualize forms of existential distress and their role in end-of-life conversations

    • Daily coping with a shortened life expectancy: Development of a daily diary measure for loss and restoration orientation in terminally ill patients with cancer (DFG Postdoctoral Scholarship, 05/2016 - 09/2017).
    • Existential distress among patients with cancer (FFM, 01/2015 - 12/2015).
    • Meaning-focused coping, personal meaning and psychological adaptation in the course of cancer (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany, 06/2009 - 05/2012).

    • Vehling, S., Phillip, R. (in press). Existential distress in cancer survivorship. Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care.
    • Vehling, S., Malfitano, C., Shnall, J., Watt, S., Panday, T., Chiu, A., Rydall, A., Zimmermann, C., Hales, S., Rodin, G., Lo, C. (2017). A concept map of death-related anxieties in patients with advanced cancer. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care 7, 427–434.
    • Phillip, R., Vehling, S., Scheffold, K., Härter, M., Mehnert, A., Lo, C. (2017). Attachment insecurity in advanced cancer patients: psychometric properties of the German version of the Brief Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (ECR-M16). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 54(4), 555–562.
    • Vehling, S., Kissane, D.W., Lo, C., Glaesmer, H., Hartung, T.J., Rodin, G., Mehnert, A. (2017). The association of demoralization with mental disorders and suicidal ideation in patients with cancer. Cancer, 123(17), 3394–3401.
    • Grünke, B., Philipp, R., Vehling, S., Scheffold, K., Härter, M., Oechsle, K., Schulz-Kindermann, F., Mehnert, A., Lo, C. (2017). Measuring the psychosocial dimensions of quality of life in advanced cancer patients: Psychometrics of the German Quality of Life at the End of Life–Cancer–Psychosocial (QUAL-EC-P) Questionnaire. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.11.006
    • Philipp, R., Mehnert, A., Lehmann, C., Oechsle, K., Bokemeyer, C., Krull, A., & Vehling, S. (2016). Detrimental social interactions predict loss of dignity among patients with cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(6), 2751–2758.
    • Vehling, S., Kamphausen, A., Oechsle, K., Hroch, S., Bokemeyer, C., & Mehnert, A. (2015). The Preference to Discuss Expected Survival Is Associated with Loss of Meaning and Purpose in Terminally Ill Cancer Patients. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 18(11), 970–976.
    • Vehling, S., Mehnert, A. (2014) Symptom burden, loss of dignity, and demoralization in patients with cancer: a mediation model. Psycho-Oncology: 23(3), 283–290.
    • Scheffold, K., Mehnert, A., Müller, V., Reck, M., Koch, U., Härter, M., Vehling, S. (2014). Sources of meaning in cancer patients – influences on global meaning, anxiety and depression in a longitudinal study. European Journal of Cancer Care, Jul; 23(4):472-80.
    • Vehling, S., Lehmann, C., Oechsle, K., Bokemeyer, C., Krüll, A., Koch, U. & Mehnert, A. (2012). Is advanced cancer associated with demoralization and lower global meaning? The role of tumor stage and physical problems in explaining existential distress in cancer patients. Psycho-Oncology, 21 (1), 54–63.
    • Vehling, S., Lehmann, C., Oechsle, K., Bokemeyer, C., Krüll, A., Koch, U. & Mehnert, A. (2011). Global meaning and meaning-related life attitudes: Exploring their role in predicting depression, anxiety, and demoralization in cancer patients. Supportive Care in Cancer, 19 (4), 513–520.

    • Schackow, M. (2015). Der Einfluss von posttraumatischem persönlichem Wachstum sowie dessen wahrgenommene Veränderung auf psychische Gesundheit und Belastung bei Krebspatienten. Masterarbeit, Psychologie.
    • Kokocinski, A. (2013). Positive und negative Affekte und Lebenssinn nach der Diagnose Krebs in einer Längsschnittuntersuchung. Diplomarbeit, Psychologie.