270243 Spirituality: An alternative treatment for Puerto Rican psychiatric outpatients?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rut García-Robles, PhD , Clinical Psychology, Private clinical practice, Arecibo, PR
Sean Sayers, PhD , Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Resiliency is the capacity that human beings have to confront, deal, manage, and overcome successfully any situation (García & Sayers, 2009). Nonetheless, when dealing with mental illness, resilience tends to be an interplay of cognitive, emotional, and spiritual aspects; that is, thinking about, feeling for, and believing in the self and life (Edward, Welch, & Chater, 2009). Awara and Fasey (2008) highlight the importance of spiritual and religious beliefs when working with psychiatric outpatients. The purpose of this research study was to compare internal resiliency factors among Puerto Ricans psychiatric outpatients. One-hundred patients (50 outpatients and 50 from partial hospitalizations), men and women, 21 years of age and older, who live in Puerto Rico completed demographic information and the Internal Resilience Factors Scale (IRFS) (Garcia & Sayers, 2010). The IRFS evaluates seven areas: Spirituality, Satisfaction, Problem Management, Emotional Stability, Optimism, Autonomy, and Insight. Results indicate that Puerto Rican outpatients had higher mean scores in Spirituality in comparison to the other six areas. Results also show that 40% of Puerto Rican outpatients report to be part of a religious or spiritual group. Furthermore, 34% report that they search the help of a religious counselor in crisis time. The results of our study can provide insight on the importance of including spiritual and religious beliefs as part of an integrative approach of a treatment plan when working with Puerto Rican outpatients. Being culturally sensitive to a patient's spiritual and religious beliefs can become an important asset when working in a therapeutic context.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the importance of spirituality as a significant internal resilience factor among Puerto Rican outpatients. 2. Discuss the importance of including religious/spiritual beliefs in a therapeutic context.

Keywords: Latino Mental Health, Well-Being

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from an accredited APA psychology program. For the last 3 years I have worked with internal resilience factors with Puerto Rican adults (non-clinical and clinical). I also developed the Internal Resilience Factor Scale (IRFS), which is reliable and valid, with the Puerto Rican adult population. I have also presented at professional meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals research findings from previous studies on resilience.
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.