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Conversation or nonversation?


Project title

Medical doctors and psychologists' existential communication with patients with chronic illness: Conversation or nonversation?

Aida Hougaard Andersen

Project manager

Aida Hougaard Andersen

Project description

Several international studies have found that existential, spiritual, and religious needs are important to patients not only in the palliative phase, but also when they are diagnosed with and have to live with a chronic disease.

We will examine:

  1. How physicians and psychologists experience and address existential, spiritual, and religious needs in patients in a secularized country like Denmark and
  2. How patients experience their existential, spiritual, and religious needs in relation to disease and treatment satisfaction.

Two groups of patients are selected with a non-malignant severe and chronic illness that is patients with chronic pain and multiple sclerosis.

A qualitative approach mainly with the use of semi-structured interviews.

Focus on existential issues in communications with patients can enhance the quality of care, improve the efficacy of treatment, patient satisfaction and work satisfaction, and therefore be cost-effective. The results of this project can be used in clinical practice and for educational purposes.

The project is carried out under

InCoRE Research Group

Start date and expected end date

01.06.2017 - 31.05.2020

Main supervisor

Professor Kirsten Kaya Roessler


Professor Niels Christian Hvidt and Postdoc Elisabeth Assing Hvidt, SDU


Departments at Danish hospitals and Foreningen Agape


Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The Regional Strategic Research Committee


Doctor-patient communication, patient satisfaction, existential needs, spiritual needs, religious needs, psychologist-client communication, qualitative methodology

Last Updated 19.10.2023