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01.12.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 6/2014

Journal of Religion and Health 6/2014

“Trust in the Lord”: Religious and Spiritual Practices of African American Breast Cancer Survivors

Journal of Religion and Health > Ausgabe 6/2014
Beverly Lynn, Grace J. Yoo, Ellen G. Levine


Few studies have examined the role of religion and spirituality among African American breast cancer patients. This study explored how African American women cope with breast cancer through religious and spiritual practices. Forty-seven African American women who had completed treatment for breast cancer participated in in-depth interviews about their experiences. The majority of the women mentioned using both individual and communal religious and spiritual practices to cope with their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The main themes that emerged in terms of the types of religious and spiritual practices included: (1) attendance at religious services, (2) comfort through prayers of others, and (3) encouragement through reading Biblical scriptures. These practices helped women “trust in the Lord” throughout the many challenges of cancer from diagnosis through survivorship. Although this study is exploratory, the findings illustrate how African American women with breast cancer use religious and spiritual practices to cope with their diagnosis and treatment. For clinicians, the findings provides an understanding of spiritual and religious needs in diverse populations and the importance of referring patients onto spiritual and religious resources and support.

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