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Reconnecting to Spirituality: Christian-Identified Adolescents and Emerging Adult Young Men’s Journey from Diagnosis of HIV to Coping


Spirituality is important to holistic health, yet little is known about its impact on young people with HIV. To address this knowledge deficit, a grounded theory study used semi-structured interviews of 20 Christian-identified adolescent and emerging adult gay males and one perinatally infected male. This study revealed that, to cope with HIV health issues, participants used a process of reconnecting with their spirituality. In order to successfully reconnect with their spirituality, study participants reported a need to re-embrace and re-engage in spiritual practices, hold onto hope, believe they are normal, and commit to beliefs and practices despite rejection from the church.

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The first author would like to thank the participants and staff at both clinical sites who participated in this research. She would also like to thank Bruce Smith for editing the manuscript and JoAnn Walls for professional transcriptionist services. This research was support by Sigma Theta Tau International Dr. Sandra Wise Founder’s Scholarship, the University of California San Francisco Alumni Century Club Fund, and the University of California San Francisco Graduate Research Award.

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Correspondence to Sharon T. Smith.

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Smith, S.T., Blanchard, J., Kools, S. et al. Reconnecting to Spirituality: Christian-Identified Adolescents and Emerging Adult Young Men’s Journey from Diagnosis of HIV to Coping. J Relig Health 56, 188–204 (2017).

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  • Adolescent
  • Emerging adults
  • HIV
  • Spirituality