Spirituality and religion in patients with HIV/AIDS
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Spirituality and religion are often central issues for patients dealing with chronic illness. The purpose of this study is to characterize spirituality/religion in a large and diverse sample of patients with HIV/AIDS by using several measures of spirituality/religion, to examine associations between spirituality/religion and a number of demographic, clinical, and psychosocial variables, and to assess changes in levels of spirituality over 12 to 18 months.
We interviewed 450 patients from 4 clinical sites. Spirituality/religion was assessed by using 8 measures: the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Spirituality-Expanded scale (meaning/peace, faith, and overall spirituality); the Duke Religion Index (organized and nonorganized religious activities, and intrinsic religiosity); and the Brief RCOPE scale (positive and negative religious coping). Covariates included demographics and clinical characteristics, HIV symptoms, health status, social support, self-esteem, optimism, and depressive symptoms.
The patients’ mean (SD) age was 43.3 (8.4) years; 387 (86%) were male; 246 (55%) were minorities; and 358 (80%) indicated a specific religious preference. Ninety-five (23%) participants attended religious services weekly, and 143 (32%) engaged in prayer or meditation at last daily. Three hundred thirty-nine (75%) patients said that their illness had strengthened their faith at least a little, and patients used positive religious coping strategies (e.g., sought God’s love and care) more often than negative ones (e.g., wondered whether God has abandoned me; P<.0001). In 8 multivariable models, factors associated with most facets of spirituality/religion included ethnic and racial minority status, greater optimism, less alcohol use, having a religion, greater self-esteem, greater life satisfaction, and lower overall functioning (R 2=.16 to .74). Mean levels of spirituality did not change significantly over 12 to 18 months.
Most patients with HIV/AIDS belonged to an organized religion and use their religion to cope with their illness. Patients with greater optimism, greater self-esteem, greater life satisfaction, minorities, and patients who drink less alcohol tend to be both more spiritual and religious. Spirituality levels remain stable over 12 to 18 months.
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- Spirituality and religion in patients with HIV/AIDS
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 21, Issue 5 Supplement, pp S5-S13
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- Author Affiliations
- 1. Healin Services Research & Development, VA Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
- 2. Department of Family Medicine, University of Cininnati Medical Center, PO Box 670840, 45267 0840, Cincinnati, OH
- 3. Institute for the Study of Health, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
- 4. Department of Medicine, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA
- 5. George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, Washington, DC, USA
- 6. North American HIV Collaporative Studies, Infectious Diseases Medicine Development Center-HIV, Glaxo Smith Kline, Research Trangle Park, NC, USA
- 7. Center on Outcomes, Research and Education, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Evanston, TL, USA
- 8. Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
- 9. Department of Psychology, Bowling Green University, Toledo, OH, USA
- 10. Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
- 11. Section of General Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA