Journal of Gerontological Nursing

CE Article 

Religiosity, Religious Coping Styles, and Health Service Use: Racial Differences Among Elderly Women

Pamela D. Ark, PhD, RN; Pamela C. Hull, PhD; Baqar A. Husaini, PhD; Clinton Craun, MA

Abstract

This study explored racial differences in the effects of religiosity and religious coping styles on health service use. The sample (N = 274) consisted of a cross-section of women ages 55 and older living in publicly subsidized high-rise dwellings in Nashville, Tennessee (1999 to 2000) and included 159 White and 115 African American women. The results suggested the effects of religiosity on health service use are generally negative for both groups. However, the effects of religious coping styles on health service use differed by race. The self-directing coping style was associated with higher levels of use for White women, but with lower levels of use for African American women. The deferring coping style was associated with greater physician visits and inpatient days among White women, but with fewer inpatient days among African American women. The collaborative coping style was associated with higher inpatient days among African American women, but had no significant effect on use patterns for White women. Conducting assessments of religiosity and religious coping styles would enhance holistic nursing practice.

Abstract

This study explored racial differences in the effects of religiosity and religious coping styles on health service use. The sample (N = 274) consisted of a cross-section of women ages 55 and older living in publicly subsidized high-rise dwellings in Nashville, Tennessee (1999 to 2000) and included 159 White and 115 African American women. The results suggested the effects of religiosity on health service use are generally negative for both groups. However, the effects of religious coping styles on health service use differed by race. The self-directing coping style was associated with higher levels of use for White women, but with lower levels of use for African American women. The deferring coping style was associated with greater physician visits and inpatient days among White women, but with fewer inpatient days among African American women. The collaborative coping style was associated with higher inpatient days among African American women, but had no significant effect on use patterns for White women. Conducting assessments of religiosity and religious coping styles would enhance holistic nursing practice.

Authors

Dr. Ark is Assistant Professor of Nursing, University of Central Florida, School of Nursing, Orlando, Florida. Dr. Hull is Associate Director, Dr. Husaini is Professor and Director, and Mr. Craun is former Research Associate, Center for Health Research, Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee.

This project was supported by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality MRISP Grant No. 1R24HS11640-01 “The Effect of Religious Coping Styles on Health Service Utilization: An Exploration of Racial Differences Among the Elderly” (Dr. Pamela Ark, P.I.) a subproject of: Husaini & Levine, Developing Collaborative Minority Healthcare and Quality Research at Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College. The study used Wave 1 data from Husaini’s Nashville Elderly Depression Study funded in 1999 by the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. S06-GM-08092).

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Address correspondence to Pamela D. Ark, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing, University of Central Florida, School of Nursing, P.O. Box 162210, Orlando, FL 32816-2210.

10.3928/00989134-20060801-05

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