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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Spiritual and religious problem solving in older adults: mechanisms for managing life challenge

Author: Nelson-Becker, H.B.
Author Background: Univ. of Chicago
Date 1999
Type Dissertation
Journal Title:
Volume/Pages 35(4), No. 1620
Subject Matter Spirituality-; Religion-; Problem-solving; Aging
Abstract Older adults face many challenges as they move through later life. This study responded to the question of whether and how older adults employ religion and spirituality as resources to manage difficult change. Interviews were conducted with an available sample of community-dwelling older adults who resided in subsidized housing in four urban sites in the Mid-west. The sample comprised 79 African American and predominantly Jewish Caucasian older adults. This qualitative and quantative study asked respondents about the life challenges they had confronted and the responses they authored, personal understandings about religion and spirituality, and religious and spiritual problem-solving strategies. The Spiritual Strategies Scale was developed for this study. Other instruments administered included the Life Satisfaction Index, the Geriatric Depression Scale, and the Problem-Solving Inventory. Forty-seven percent of the older adults identified religious resources extemporaneously, and 92% rated religion and/or spirituality important.