176505 Role of religion and spirituality in cancer coping among African Americans: Testing a theoretical model

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cheryl Holt, PhD , Division of Preventive Medicine, Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Lee Caplan, PhD , Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Victor Blake, MD, MTS , Morehouse Medical Associates, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Emily Schulz, PhD , Occupational Therapy, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ
Penny Southward, MPPM , Media For Health, Birmingham, AL
Elise McLin , Division of Preventive Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Rhonda Frost , Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
There is ample literature suggesting that cancer patients, particularly African Americans, rely on religion and/or spirituality to cope with the disease. However, what is yet to be determined is HOW they do so, or which aspects of religion/spirituality are important in cancer coping. The present study developed, operationalized, and tested a model of religion/spirituality and cancer coping among African Americans, based on our qualitative findings from the previous research phase. Constructs included in the model were based on the qualitative analysis. The team identified existing measures for several of the constructs. New instruments were developed and validated to assess novel constructs including role of God as a healer, control (or lack thereof) over one's illness, role of God in coping, and connectedness to self, others, God, and the world in the context of the cancer experience. The theoretical model was tested in the study sample of 200 African Americans with a cancer diagnosis. Preliminary data suggest the new instruments to have strong internal reliability and some are multidimensional in nature. Further data are reported from the model testing phase, indicating which constructs play a role in cancer coping and quality of life among study participants. When more is learned about the specific nature of the relationship between religion/spirituality and coping and quality of life, this information can be used to more fully inform cancer support and survivorship interventions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the psychometric properties of several new instruments developed to assess the role of religion and spirituality in cancer coping among African Americans. 2. Describe the role that religion and spirituality play in coping with cancer, among African Americans. 3. Articulate how study findings may inform cancer support and survivorship interventions for this population.

Keywords: Cancer, Coping

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.