Spirituality may help women manage chronic illness

Jul 08, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- As women increasingly outlive men, they face increasing risks of chronic illness as they age.

How draw strength from spirituality and social networks is the focus of an interdisciplinary research team from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

Principal investigators Camille Warner and Kathryn Betts Adams are working to find out if these factors play a role in how women 65 years and older manage and cope with such chronic illnesses as arthritis, , diabetes, cancers, heart disease and other health issues.

According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Promotion, 80 percent of older adults have one or more , and half of older people have more than one.

“Women traditionally are the healthcare managers in the family,” said Warner. “But how well they are coping and managing their own health problems is increasingly important as women live longer and many times live alone in the community.”

Adams and Warner will recruit women living with family members or on their own in community housing,without assisted living support to participate in the study. They will survey 125 women over the course of the one-year pilot study. Volunteers will be asked about spiritual areas of their lives and also about what they do to keep active and involved with friends and others around them.

A follow-up questionnaire six months later will help track any changes in their outlooks on life and whether marshalling social help or tapping into spiritual beliefs impacts their overall sense of wellbeing. The investigators also want to know if these lines of support help women manage their chronic illnesses.

From initial data collected, Warner and Adams hope to take the next step and design an intervention to help both social and healthcare workers assist older women manage their illnesses using a variety of coping skills.

Provided by Case Western Reserve University (news : web)

Explore further: Informal child care significantly impacts rural economies, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Obesity risks increase after menopause

Oct 25, 2007

Postmenopausal women are at an age when the incidence and exacerbation of the chronic health conditions associated with obesity become more prevalent. A new article published in Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nu ...

Men-women life expectancy gap narrows

May 01, 2006

Women may have longer life expectancy than men but that gap in the United States has now narrowed to five years, the shortest in 50 years.

Recommended for you

Preterm children's brains can catch up years later

15 hours ago

There's some good news for parents of preterm babies – latest research from the University of Adelaide shows that by the time they become teenagers, the brains of many preterm children can perform almost as well as those ...

Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold

15 hours ago

Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown that death rates rise in association with extremely hot weather. The heat wave in Western Europe in the summer of 2003, for example, resulted in about 22,000 extra deaths. A team ...

User comments : 0