Spirituality/Religiousness and the general well-being of older adults

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McCoy, Susan P.

Spirituality is an important resource for older adults in terms of an intra-psychic means of coping and adaptation with issues of daily life, loss, and death. However, little is known about impact of spirituality/religiousness on the general well-being of older adults. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of spirituality/religiousness on the general well-being of older adults in seven central states. This study is important for social workers to increase their assessment and intervention skills utilizing religiousness/spirituality to minimize the health problems of older adults. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted through a convenience sampling method for 143 older adults 65 year-old or over from 15 counties in seven central states. To measure various domains of health status), the General Well-Being Schedule (GWBS) was used. To measure spirituality/religiousness, the Brief Multidimensional Measures of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) was used. Results: The respondents ranged in age from 65 to 97. The other characteristics showed female (55.2%); Caucasian (63.4%); married (47.9%). Regression results showed that higher spiritual experience is significantly associated with lower anxiety (B=-.37, ≤ .01), greater positive well-being (B=.46, ≤; .01), and greater vitality (B=.36, p ≤ .05). Religious support is a negative factor in the positive well-being of older adults (B=-.24, p ≤ .05). Implications: Social work practitioners should assess the religious background of clients, family, community, and nation and level of concerns in use of spiritual resourses. However, the religious/spiritual intervention of social work practitioners should be offered as a type of therapeutic options because some clients do not like religious/spiritual activities and some religious/spiritual intervention can cause negative results to clients.

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First place winner of poster presentations in the Social Science section at the 9th Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum (URCAF) held at the Eugene Hughes Metropolitan Complex , Wichita State University, May 1, 2009