The research involved 345 patients,all of which had terminal cancer. The study shows that the people who prayed most often were more likely to undergo medical care to prolong their lives than those people that did not have a religious belief.
30% of people who were involved in the study where all unanimous in the opinion that their faith kept them going. Details of the study have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It also concluded that some types of care could cause discomfort.
The research also showed people who had religious beliefs were least likely to choose the "do not resuscitate" option when asked. These patients were also more often put on life saving equipment for their final days.
Research has shown that patients who have intense medical procedures to help prolong their lives may result in a poorer quality of life. The research also says that people with a belief coped with problems such as stress and illness better
Lead researcher Holly Prigerson said this in the report:
"These findings merit further discussion within religious communities, and consideration from those providing pastoral counsel to terminally ill patients with cancer