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Ethn Dis. 2004 Spring;14(2):189-97.

Religion, spirituality, and healthcare choices of African-American women: results of a national survey.

Author information

1
Stony Brook School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, State University of New York, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study describes the prevalence and patterns of use of religion and spirituality for health reasons among African-American women.

METHODS:

Respondents were asked about their use of religion/spirituality for health reasons as part of a larger study of the prevalence and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among women. In 2001, a national survey of 3,172 women, aged 18 and older, was conducted in 4 languages, with over-sampling among African-, Mexican-, and Chinese-American participants. This paper focuses on the sub-sample of 812 African-American women.

RESULTS:

Overall, 43% of the African-American women reported using religion/spirituality for health reasons in the past year. Factors significantly associated with the use of religion/spirituality for health reasons included having an income of dollar 40,000-dollar 60,000, an education level of college graduate or more, or being 37-56 years of age; worse health status approached significance. African-American women utilized religion and spirituality most often for serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and depression. African-American women who had used religion/spirituality in the past year for health reasons were more than twice as likely to have used some form of CAM, and also more likely to have seen a medical doctor during the year prior to the interview, compared to their counterparts.

CONCLUSION:

Religion and spirituality are associated with health-seeking behaviors of African-American women. The use of religion and spirituality for health reasons warrants additional research, particularly its use for chronic and serious conditions, and its role in the health-seeking behavior of African-American women in conjunction with the utilization of conventional medicine and CAM.

PMID:
15132203
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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