Over the years, research has consistently supported the notion that religion and spirituality are important to many Americans. More recently, research is focusing on the important role spirituality may play in the lives of individuals living with a chronic illness such as acid reflux, or those in a caregiving situation. The intent of this two-part blog is not an attempt to influence your spiritual or religious beliefs, but instead to make known the very real interest in and recognition of the function of spirituality in the adjustment to a serious illness.
Spirituality is one of the most powerful means by which patients draw on their own resources to cope with an illness. Both religion and spirituality can provide a way for the person living with a disease like GERD to make meaning of the illness. Religion and spirituality can also provide practical resources and hope for someone living with a serious illness.
Research shows spirituality cannot only influence a patient’s response to an illness, but can also affect different aspects of caregiving. For example, in 2004, Poston and Turnbull examined the role of spirituality and religion in families of children with disabilities. In this study, the authors found that many of the families who participated in their study expressed a sense of strength gained from spiritual well-being and participation in religious activities. In a different study, Miltiades (2002) investigated the effect of religion and spirituality on caregiving. The results of this study were also clear: religious coping was associated with higher levels of caregiving satisfaction.
Future research will most likely look more specifically into the ways in which spirituality and religion affect the psychological, social and material resources of the person living with an illness and their family. The next part of this blog will provide suggestions for ways in which the research findings related to spirituality can be used in the everyday lives of people living with acid reflux and the organizations wishing to support them.
Published On: July 05, 2007