Table 2

Characteristics of the included studies

Author and yearObjectiveMethodDisciplineSettingRespondentsResearchersCountry
Rosenfeld et al36To establish preliminary evidence for the feasibility, acceptability and utility of an abbreviated version of Meaning-Centered PsychotherapyClinical trial, open-label designClinical psychologyPalliative care hospitalTwelve patients with cancerPsychotherapistsUSA
Breitbart and Masterson37To provide an overview of key studies pertaining to various types of Meaning-Centered PsychotherapyReview of randomised controlled trialsPsychiatryCancer centre hospitalFour hundred and sixty-three patients with stage III or IV cancerPsychiatrists, psychotherapistsUSA
Buckley and Herth29To identify strategies that terminally ill patients use in maintaining and fostering hope during the final stage of lifeLongitudinal study using triangulation, background data, the Herth Hope Index and a semistructured interviewNursing, sociologyPalliative home care and an inpatient hospice unitFourteen patients with cancer, two patients with end-stage motor-neurone diseaseCare researchersUK
Duggleby et al38To describe psychosocial processes that patients receiving palliative care experienced when taking part in a Living with Hope programmeFifty-two in-depth interviews, thematic analysisNursingPalliative home careThirteen patients with advanced cancer and their caregiversNursesCanada
Harrop et al30To understand the coping experiences of patients and identify resources and factors likely to support such copingTwenty in-depth interviews, interpretative phenomenological analysisPopulation medicineAt home and in clinicTen patients with advanced lung cancerCare researchersUK
Karlsson et al31To interpret meanings of existential uncertainty and certainty for people diagnosed with cancerSixty-six narrative interviews, observations, life-world phenomenologyHealth studies, nursingOncological outpatient clinic, at homeFourteen patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancerNeuroscientist, nurse researchersSweden
La Cour, Johannessen, Josephsson32To explore and understand how people with advanced cancer create meaning and handle everyday life through activityIn-depth interviews and participant observations, interpretive analysis using narrative theoryHealthcare science, occupational therapyAt homeTwo patients with breast cancer, three with lung cancer and two with colon cancerCare researcher, occupational therapistDenmark
McClement et al39To provide a synopsis of the Dignity Therapy programme of research studies, with an emphasis on the application of research findings for practiceVarious qualitative and quantitative studiesNursing, psychiatry, clinical psychologyVarious settingsTwo hundred and sixty-six patients with stage III or IV cancerPsychotherapists, palliative care cliniciansCanada
Nilmanat et al33To explore how Thai persons with advanced cancer move beyond suffering at the end of their lifeLongitudinal qualitative case study, open-ended interviews and observationsNursingHospital, at homeFifteen patients with advanced cancerNurse researchersThailand
Rohde et al34To explore spiritual well-being in patients with cancer receiving chemotherapyIn-depth interviews, hermeneutic editing approach for the analysesHealth sciencesHospitalTwenty patients with colorectal cancerClinical researchersNorway
Sand, Olsson, Strang35To obtain knowledge about how native-born Swedes develop coping strategies in the presence of their own impending deathSemistructured interviews, analysed using existential hermeneuticsPalliative medicine, oncologyHospital, at homeTwenty patients with advanced cancerMedical home care researchersSweden
Tait et al41To understand the therapeutic effect of Dignity Therapy, in patients at the end of lifeSemistructured interviews, followed by discourse analysisPsychiatryPalliative care settings in two academic hospitalsTwelve patients with fewer than 6 months to liveResident physiciansCanada
Tuck et al42To implement a story-telling approach to explore the experience of living with terminal cancerIntervention study, semistructured interviews, surveyNursingHospital and a community hospice programmeFifteen adult patients with cancerNurse researchersUSA
Xiao et al40To elicit patients' perceptions of their participation in a life review programme for Chinese patientsSemistructured interviewsNursingHospiceTwenty-six patients with cancerNurse researchersChina