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The Perceived Benefits of Religious and Spiritual Coping Among Older Adults Living with HIV/AIDS

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Although religious and spiritual beliefs and practices have been frequently associated with greater psychological well-being among illness populations, little is known about the specific benefits individuals perceive they receive from these beliefs and practices. This issue was examined in interviews with 63 older HIV-infected adults. Participants reported a variety of benefits from their religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, including: (1) evokes comforting emotions and feelings; (2) offers strength, empowerment, and control; (3) eases the emotional burden of the illness; (4) offers social support and a sense of belonging; (5) offers spiritual support through a personal relationship with God; (6) facilitates meaning and acceptance of the illness; (7) helps preserve health; (8) relieves the fear and uncertainty of death; (9) facilitates self-acceptance and reduces self-blame. These perceived benefits suggest potential mechanisms by which religion/spirituality may affect psychological adjustment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Center for the Psychosocial Study of Health & Illness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University 2: Columbia University and City University of New York

Publication date: March 1, 2002


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