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Ai AL, Hall DE. Divine love and deep connections: a long-term followup of patients surviving cardiac surgery. Journal of aging research. 2011 Jun 15; 2011:841061.
We examined experiencing divine love as an indicator of affective spiritual growth in a prospective cohort of 200 patients surviving cardiac surgery. These patients previously completed two-wave preoperative interviews when standardized cardiac surgery data were also collected. The information included left ventricular ejection fraction, New York Heart Association Classification, baseline health (physical and mental), optimism, hope, religiousness, prayer coping, religious/spiritual coping, and demographics. We then measured divine love at 900 days postoperatively. Hierarchical linear regression indicated the direct effect of positive religious coping on experiences of divine love, controlling for other key variables. Postoperatively perceived spiritual support was entered at the final step as an explanatory factor, which appeared to mediate the coping effect. None of the other faith factors predicted divine love. Further research regarding divine love and spiritual support may eventually guide clinical attempts to support patients' spiritual growth as an independently relevant outcome of cardiac surgery.