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

University of Notre Dame
Journal of Adult Development (Impact Factor: 0.69). 03/2002; 9(2):141-154. DOI: 10.1023/A:1015789513985


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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    • "It seems that religious obligation has a crucial role in averting physical and mental diseases, recovery promotion, and disease adaptation. Numerous studies have revealed the positive involvement of spirituality and religious indexes on different aspects of health such as cardiac surgery, mortality, immunity system function and self esteem.[1718] "
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    ABSTRACT: Spirituality is recognized as a personally important matter to the elderly, and there are evidences of its impact on their health. The aim of this study was to explore the concept of spirituality from the perspectives of Iranian healthy elderly individuals. A conventional qualitative content analysis of carried out with 21 healthy elderly people from both male and female genders were chosen using a purposive sampling method in Tehran in 2010-2011. Data collection was done through semi structured interviews. A qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the participants' experiences and perceptions on spirituality, using a central question 'what characterizes the spirituality in the Iranian healthy elderly people?' THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES EMERGED FROM THE DATA ANALYSIS: (1) Spiritual health, with four sub categories including saying prayer as a calming factor; beneficence as a way to God; loss of psychological and spiritual support; faith as a way to happiness; (2) spiritual beliefs, with three sub categories including seeking help from God in difficulties; God's power over life and death; doing good deeds is the God's will; and (3) religious practice with three sub categories including saying prayer; reading Quran; and going to mosque, religious ceremonies and pilgrimage. In this study was found that spirituality was a fundamental element in elderly individuals' lives that help them to adapt with daily living conditions.
    Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research 03/2013; 18(2):163-70.
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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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