Spirituality and Religiosity in a Sample of African American Elders: A Life Story Approach

University of Notre Dame
Journal of Adult Development (Impact Factor: 0.6). 03/2002; 9(2):141-154. DOI: 10.1023/A:1015789513985

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examine reserve capacity in minority elderly and to identify the protective factors that promoted more optimal outcomes even in the face of a life filled with adversity. These notions were examined using life stories or personal accounts of the important events and experiences that shape an individual's development. Life story interviews were conducted with 10 African American elders (aged 58–88). Tape-recorded interviews were examined for thematic content. One of the themes that emerged as being important to participants' reserve potential comprised spirituality and religiosity. As described by the respondents, spirituality and religiosity were used as a reserve resource from which they were able to draw in times of stress, thus allowing them to grow as a result of their hardships. Overall, this research has important implications. For example, the methodology provided the opportunity to assess the process by which spirituality and religiosity contribute to well-being, either indirectly as a coping mechanism or as means of garnering social support, or more directly, via enhancing a sense of self. Descriptive accounts of this type can help to elucidate how protective factors promote more optimal outcomes and ultimately inform intervention strategies.

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    • "To date most studies examining the effects of religious resources on the stress and health outcomes of minorities have focused on African Americans (Taylor, Chatters, & Levin, 2004). Investigations with this population suggest that among African Americans, religious resources such as prayer and service attendance appear to temper the effects of discrimination, and other forms of psychological stress (Holt, Haire-Joshu, Lukwago, 51 Lewellyn, Kreuter, 2005; Bowen-Reid & Smalls, 2004; Wallace & Bergman, 2002). To date, few studies have explored these relationships among U.S. Latinos (Ellison et al., 2009; Finch & Vega, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the influence of acculturative stress on substance use and HIV risk behaviors among recent Latino immigrants. The central hypothesis of the study is that specific religious coping mechanisms influence the relationship that acculturative stress has on the substance use and HIV-risk behaviors of recent Latino immigrants. Within the Latino culture religiosity is a pervasive force, guiding attitudes, behaviors, and even social interactions. When controlling for education and socioeconomic status, Latinos have been found to use religious coping mechanisms more frequently than their Non-Latino White counterparts. In addition, less acculturated Latinos use religious coping strategies more frequently than those with higher levels of acculturation. Given its prominent role in Latino culture, it appears probable that this mechanism may prove to be influential during difficult life transitions, such as those experienced during the immigration process. This study examines the moderating influence of specific religious coping mechanisms on the relationship between acculturative stress and substance use/HIV risk behaviors of recent Latino immigrants. Analyses for the present study were conducted with wave 2 data from an ongoing longitudinal study investigating associations between pre-immigration factors and health behavior trajectories of recent Latino immigrants. Structural equation and zero-inflated Poisson modeling were implemented to test the specified models and examine the nature of the relationship among the variables. Moderating effects were found for negative religious coping. Higher levels of negative religious coping strengthened an inverse relationship between acculturative stress and substance use. Results also indicated direct relationships between religious coping mechanisms and substance use. External and positive religious coping were inversely related to substance use. Negative religious coping was positively related to substance use. This study aims to contribute knowledge of how religious coping influence's the adaptation process of recent Latino immigrants. Expanding scientific understanding as to the function and effect of these coping mechanisms could lead to enhanced culturally relevant approaches in service delivery among Latino populations. Furthermore this knowledge could inform research about specific cognitions and behaviors that need to be targeted in prevention and treatment programs with this population.^
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    • "), civic engagement (Smidt, 1999), empowerment (Calhoun-Brown, 1998), female leadership (Robinson, 1996), manhood development (Watts, 1993), recovery from addiction (Turner, O'Dell & Weaver, 1999), coping among the elderly (Johnson, 1995), and women (Mattis, 2002), as well as resiliency among children (Haight, 1998), single mothers (Brodsky, 1999), the poor (Nelson, 1997), the elderly (Wallace & Bergeman, 2002), and victims of racism (Bowen-Reid & Harrell, 2002). Similarly, spirituality/religion have been associated with increased levels of interpersonal friendliness (Ellison, 1992), life satisfaction (Levin, Chatters & Taylor, 1995), physical and emotional health (Stolley & Koenig, 1997), positive self-perceptions (Ellison, 1993), quality of family life (Ellison, 1997), self-esteem (Maton, Teti, Corns & Vieira-Baker, 1996), and the ability to handle the stress associated with having a child with disabilities (Rogers-Dulan, 1998) and having an infant hospitalized with a serious illness (Wilson & Miles, 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: In spite of increased interest in spirituality, the concept of a spiritual assess-ment remains a questionable practice in the eyes of many social workers. This paper develops five rationales to underscore the importance of including spirituality in assessment. These reasons can be summarized as follows: spiritual assessment pro-vides insight into clients' worldviews, serves as a vehicle to identify strengths, and demonstrates respect for client autonomy. In addition, the profession's ethics implic-itly recommend the administration of a spiritual assessment and, for a growing number of accrediting organizations and agencies, it is explicitly recommended. This paper concludes by discussing the implications for practitioners and educators. A ssessment is a central component of direct social work practice. While numerous definitions exist, assessment can be understood as the process of gathering, analyzing, and synthesizing information into a concise pic-ture that provides the basis for action decisions (Hepworth, Rooney & Larsen, 2002; Rauch, 1993). It is the assessment process that provides the foundation for the resulting therapeutic enterprise. The content areas explored during assess-ment provide the basis for, and give direction to, subsequent practice decisions. Recently, interest in the topic of spiritual assessment has emerged, perhaps particularly among practitioners and students (Canda & Furman, 1999; Derezotes, 1995; Sheridan & Amato-von Hemert, 1999). Traditionally, howev-er, the assessment of spirituality has been ignored (DeCoster & Burcham, 2002). Many social work practitioners believe that "the notion of spirituality is irrelevant to everyday life" or is even harmful (Gotterer, 2001, p. 191). Time constraints limit the material that can be covered during assessment, and professional consensus has traditionally suggested that domains other than spirituality be explored during the assessment process.
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    ABSTRACT: We surveyed 31 prospective employers (65% response rate) regarding their views on character as part ofthe employment selection process. The results showed character qualities superordinate, relative to skills that prospective employees bring to potential jobs. We discuss survey results in light of business educators' responsibility for helping students to internalize ethical decision­ making. Although the results show employers making few company changes due to the media's attention on corporate scandals, respondents express that the pool of applicants with strong character is shrinking. They expect that character training will occur prior to employment in a variety ofmilieu-including higher education.
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