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The Influence of African American Elders' Belief Systems on Health Interactions

TitleThe Influence of African American Elders' Belief Systems on Health Interactions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBlack, HK
JournalJournal of Religion & Spirituality in Social WorkJournal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work
ISBN Number1542-6432
KeywordsAge Factors, Aged, Audiorecording, Blacks -- Psychosocial Factors -- In Old Age, Communication, Content Analysis, Culture, Descriptive Research, Exploratory Research, Female, Funding Source, Health Beliefs, Human, Interviews, Male, Middle Age, Narratives, New England, Patient Satisfaction, Physician-Patient Relations, Qualitative Studies, Quality of Health Care, Race Factors, Sex Factors, Spirituality, Thematic Analysis
AbstractThis qualitative article explores how African-American elders' cultural and religious belief systems informed elders' perceptions of: (a) healthcare encounters, (b) quality of healthcare received and, (c) relationships with providers. The descriptive study involved interviews with African American elders (N = 60), 60 years of age and older. Open-ended interview questions concerned elders' perceptions of how their age, gender, race, and belief systems impacted quality of healthcare interactions. Three interrelated themes linked elders' responses: (a) desire for connectedness, (b) sense of marginality, and (c) reliance on God and cultural traditions. Findings show the value of social workers designing assessments, programs, and interventions that qualitatively explore African American elders' beliefs. A qualitative exploration can use elders' own words to show the significance of their cultural and faith traditions in all aspects of their lives.
Ethno Med: