The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3174.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Table 8

Abstract #60816

Religiosity and its perceived impact in an African American church-going community: Social support and stress buffering as determinants within the religion-health relationship

Cheryl L. Holt, PhD and Laura Lewellyn Kelhoffer, MA. Health Communication Research Laboratory, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, 3545 Lafayette Ave., Salus Center, Rm. 401, St. Louis, MO 63104

This qualitative study examined the religiosity-health association among African Americans, with particular attention to exploring the perceived effect of specific determinants. We conducted forty, semi-structured interviews across seven predominately African American churches of different Christian denominations. Our participants included 7 pastors and 7 key-members of 7 different churches of different denominations, 23 church-member volunteers, 3 health professionals, and 3 university professors. Participants were asked to describe the religiosity-health association in their own terms, and how their beliefs and practices impact their health. They were also asked about specific mechanisms proposed in this literature, such as the social support and stress buffering functions of church. Respondents spontaneously mentioned the efficacy of these two mechanisms, as well as the scriptural influence on lifestyle and health-related behaviors. These determinants hold significant promise for integration into church-based health-related intervention outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Impact of religion and spirituality on health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA