Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 1147–1161 | Cite as

The Strength to Cope: Spirituality and Faith in Chronic Disease

  • Nalika Unantenne
  • Narelle WarrenEmail author
  • Rachel Canaway
  • Lenore Manderson
Original Paper


The lifelong management of a chronic condition requires considerable mental fortitude and commitment in social adjustment and adherence to medical advice. In examining strategies of adaptation, we draw on ethnographic research, including interviews with 69 people with type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. We explore how they incorporate spirituality into their self-management routines, with positive impact on their health and wellbeing, and highlight the role of spiritual practices in supporting people with chronic conditions mentally, physically and socially, so encouraging personal responsibility for one’s health and wellbeing.


Cardiovascular disease Diabetes mellitus Resilience Social support Spirituality 



The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Professor Maximilian de Courten, Professor Bruce Hollingsworth, Professor Vivian Lin and Professor Brian Oldenburg to the conception and design of this study. This research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, grant number 491171.

Conflict of interest

The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nalika Unantenne
    • 1
  • Narelle Warren
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rachel Canaway
    • 1
  • Lenore Manderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Science and Health Research Unit, School of Psychology and PsychiatryMonash UniversityCaulfield EastAustralia

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