Spiritual Expressions of African Americans and Whites in Cancer Pain


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Abstract

Background:Spiritual practices are one way that individuals cope with cancer pain.Purpose:Describe and contrast expressions and values about the use of spirituality for pain in African American (AA) and White (WH) oncology patients.Methods:Six groups (3 AA; 3 WH; n=42; mean age 58) were conducted. Focus group and qualitative methodology with a cultural interpretive lens was utilized. The Model of Integrated Spirituality provided the conceptual framework for understanding the narratives.Findings:AAs and WHs did not differ on demographics, pain status, or integrative therapies. Three spirituality themes emerged: 1) pain and distress as antecedents to the use of spirituality; 2) active and existential attributes of the use of spirituality; and 3) mobilization of internal and external resources as outcomes. There were commonalities between AAs and WHs but greater frequency of certain subthemes and keywords in AAs.Conclusions:Future studies should examine whether differences in overt expressions translate into different types and levels of spiritual usage.Implications for Practice:Clinicians should recognizing similar as well as different uses and descriptions of spirituality between African Americans and Whites.

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