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Table 7 Categories of suffering for patients who did or did not experience overall unbearable suffering (results from coding of open questions on why aspects of the SOS-V were unbearable)

From: Symptoms, unbearability and the nature of suffering in terminal cancer patients dying at home: a prospective primary care study

  Overall unbearable suffering (n = 16) Overall bearable suffering (n = 41)  
Categories of suffering Category present in patients % (n) Mean number in which category is present per patient Mean (stdev) Category present in patients % (n) Mean number in which category is present per patient Mean (stdev) p-value of t-test for means
Physical suffering 100 (16) 4.0 (2.1) 61 (25) 2.1 (2.4) 0.008
Loss of meaning 88 (14) 3.6 (3.3) 63 (26) 2.0 (2.1) 0.027
Loss of autonomy 88 (14) 3.1 (2.2) 44 (18) 2.2 (1.6) 0.003
Loss of dignity 56 (9) 1.1 (1.5) 32 (13) 0,5 (0.9) 0.064
Experience to be a burden to others 56 (9) 0.7 (0.7) 17 (7) 0.2 (0.5) 0.025
Loss of sexual role 6 (1) 0.1 (0.3) 2 (1) 0.02 (0.2) 0.491
Fear of future suffering 44 (7) 0.8 (0.9) 5 (2) 0.04 (0.2) 0.009
Anxiety 31 (5) 0.6 (1.2) 7 (3) 0.1 (1.3) 0.089
Death anxiety 6 (1) 0.1 (0.5) 0 (0) 0.0 (0.0 0.333
Depressive thoughts 19 (3) 0.2 (0.4) 2 (1) 0.02 (0.2) 0.134
Worrying 44 (7) 0.5 (0.6) 5 (2) 0.1 (0.3) 0.020
Feeling tensed 13 (2) 0.1 (0.3) 5 (2) 0.05 (0.2) 0.417
Hopelessness 19 (3) 0.2 (0.4) 2 (1) 0.02 (0.2) 0.134
Pointlessness 13 (2) 0.4 (1.1) 2 (1) 0.4 (0.5) 0.299
Emotional symptoms 75 (12) 2.1 (2.6) 20 (8) 0.3 (0.8) 0.014
  1. %: percentage of patients.
  2. n: number of patients.
  3. stdev: standard deviation.
  4. Emotional symptoms of psychological distress: anxiety, death anxiety, depressive thoughts, worrying, feeling tensed, hopelessness and pointlessness.