The marginalization of religion in End of Life Care: signs of microaggression?

Pentaris, Panagiotis. 2018. The marginalization of religion in End of Life Care: signs of microaggression? International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, 11(2), pp. 116-128. ISSN 2056-4902 [Article]

18306 PENTARIS_The_Marginalisation_of_Religion_in_End_of_Life_Care_2017.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (259kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Service users very often interpret and respond to their experiences of death, dying and bereavement through a religious or spiritual lens. However, recent trends in religion and belief have influenced how professionals respond to indicators such as faith. Since the post-war years in Britain, and due to the transfer of services from church to state, as well as the change in the religious landscape, language has largely secularized. When people start addressing religion and belief again, they lack the appropriate literacy to do so, this is termed religious literacy by Dinham (2015). The purpose of this paper is to explore how professionals in end of life (EOL) care respond to service users’ religious and spiritual indicators, through the lens of religious literacy.

The paper draws from an ethnographic study undertaken across hospices in England, UK. In this study, healthcare professionals (HCPs) were observed for one calendar year.

Results show that lack of religious literacy on the part of HCPs may lead to subtle and unintentional microaggression. Three types of indications of microinvalidation have been noted: verbal, non-verbal and environmental.

This paper innovates in offering a first-hand phenomenological interpretation of observations in the field. The research data capture visually the impact of lack of religious literacy, an achievement which adds to the dialogue about service user rights in EOL care.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

'This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact'


religion, religious microaggression, religious microinvalidation, end of life care, hospice

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Faiths and Civil Society
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Social Work


14 May 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Oct 2022 12:13

Last Modified:

11 Oct 2022 16:19

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)