Session Title: Poster Session 1
Category: Psychosocial determinants of self-management
Presentation Date: Friday, November 07, 2008
SPIRITUALITY BELIEFS AND HEALTH STATUS IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS: A QUALITATIVE STUDY
N. Fouladi1, M. Salsali2, H. Alimohammadi1, E. Mazahery3, A. Shargi1
1University of Medical Sciences, Medicine, Ardebil, Iran, Islamic Republic of, 2University of Medical Sciences, Nursing, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of, 3University of Medical Sciences, Nursing, Ardebil, Iran, Islamic Republic of
This paper reports the findings of a qualitative interpretive study that explored how people with chronic illness use their spiritual beliefs to establish meaning for illness and to respond to the challenges of lived experience with illness.
Method: Qualitative data methods were used to code and analyse transcribed audio taped data from unstructured, conversational interviews with 35 participants.
Results: Five main themes emerged from the collected data.
Spiritual beliefs and lifestyle, Spiritual beliefs and self - efficacy, Spiritual beliefs as coping mechanisms, religious behaviors as meditation technique, Spiritual challenge.
Discussion: The current study highlighted the fact that participants' religious beliefs has a supportive role and acts as an emotional coping mechanism and reduces their stress levels. However, one of the findings in the current study differ from the results reported by Rowe and Allen (2004) and that of Narayanasamy (2004). The difference is that in the context of the specific socio-cultural conditions in Iran, religious and spiritual beliefs not only influence how the patient is coping with their disease but these beliefs also play a major role in embracing life style changes and adhering to them. Results also indicated that, in certain cases, as the illness is prolonged and more symptoms emerge the spiritual beliefs and their supportive influences are weakened. This could diminish the likelihood of patient adhering to their new life style.
It is essential, therefore, to reflect on the impact of spiritual beliefs on health when devising educational programmes for patients.