209517 Examination of the Impact of Religious Coping and Resiliency on the Perception of Discrimination in Katrina Survivors

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gerri A. Cannon-Smith, MD, MPH , School of Health Sciences, Jackson State University, Brandon, MS
Olugbemiga Tanilepada Ekundayo, MD, MPH, DrPH , Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Safiya Omari, PhD , School of Social Work, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Daniel Sarpong, PhD , Jackson Heart Study, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Hussain Al-Fadhli, PhD , Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Warren A. Jones, MD, FAAFP , Mississippi Institute for Improvement of Geographic Minority Health, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS
After Hurricane Katrina, those most affected are in various stages of recovery. Reports and research have addressed physical, environmental, and psychological effects, misdistribution of healthcare, housing, and other services and subsequent emotional toll. While lack of preparation, resources, and less than optimal coordination of services were factors, it is not clear how discrimination, resiliency and coping played a role. We compared services received with perception of discrimination, resiliency and religious coping.


We surveyed 223 (original) Mississippi Gulf Coast residents on sources of aid received. We hypothesized that religious coping strategies and their level of resiliency are major factors in the recovery process as factors that influenced perception of discrimination. Given historical and persistent inequities in the Bible belt, we looked at the perception of discrimination and its relationship to religious coping and general resiliency in this sample population. Survey participants completed a modified religious coping scale, validated by factor analyses. Sub-domains include resiliency scale and perceived frequency of discriminatory events in various settings. We present data examining the relationship of discrimination perception to religious coping and resiliency.


A minority of this population felt that discrimination was a factor in their receipt of aid and in their daily lives. While discrimination was detected, there were some significant relationships between perception of discrimination and religious coping. Those who displayed strong coping were more likely to experience discrimination. An explanation for this phenomenon is explained.

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the perceptions of and responses to discrimination in this population of Hurricane Katrina survivors 2) Analyze the impact of religious coping strategies on perception of discrimination as it relates to the data presented 3) Analyze the impact of general resiliency on the perception of discrimination as it relates to this sample population 4) Formulate potential strategies for integrating spirituality and health in disaster planning

Keywords: Faith Community, Coping

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Co-Investigator
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.