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J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2000;15(1):13-35.

Personal accounts of the role of God in health and illness among older rural African American and White residents.

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1
College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA. wjmcaule@uncc.edu

Abstract

This paper addresses how older rural residents view the relationship between God and both health and illness. We employed semi-structured interviews and qualitative analytical strategies with 15 African Americans residing in predominantly African American communities and 13 Whites living in nearby predominantly White communities, in order to identify similarities and differences in views about a divine other's roles in health and illness. African Americans were more likely than Whites to describe their religious lives in personal terms, in ways suggesting there is a set of religious truths that do not require further investigation or analysis, and in a manner indicating that religious belief permeated their lives. They were also more likely to describe specific role expectations for God in health and illness. The results point to the substantial cultural diversity that exists in small rural areas, and to the need for health care workers to be sensitive to the health-related religious beliefs of patients.

PMID:
14618008
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