Spirituality as a Mediating Factor in Black Families Beliefs and Experiences of Health and Wellbeing

By Bertha Ochieng.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Although there is a body of literature that explores the interrelationship between religious beliefs and experiences of illness, little attention is paid on the interplay between spirituality, Black families’ beliefs of health and well-being and their “lived experiences”. In this article I examine the influence of spiritual beliefs on Black families’ experiences of health and well-being. I draw material from a community-based ethnography study exploring the attitudes of Black adolescents and their families towards healthy lifestyle, and their experiences. Ten Black families of African Caribbean descent from the north of England, including eighteen adults aged thirty-nine to sixty and twenty-three adolescents aged twelve to seventeen participated in the study with interviews conducted in their homes. The participants’ narratives illustrated how spirituality influences their beliefs on health and well-being. Families described how their spiritual beliefs gave them a positive outlook on their health and well-being, despite their poor socio-economic status and experiences of marginalisation and social discrimination. Although the overall connections between spirituality and beliefs about health and well-being warrant additional investigation, the findings of this study suggest that there is a need to integrate spiritual beliefs with health and well-being programmes.

Keywords: Black Families, Health, Spiritual Beliefs, Well-being

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.99-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 660.161KB).

Dr. Bertha Ochieng

Senior Lecturer, School of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK

Dr. Bertha Ochieng is a Senior Lecturer, School of Health Studies, University of Bradford, UK. Her teaching and research activities largely cover the areas of public health, families, adolescents and children and in particular, health and healthy lifestyle and the experiences of UK Black families in accessing and negotiating health and social care services.

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