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Spirituality, Stress and Wellbeing Among the Eldersly Practising Spiritualty | Well Being | Spirituality

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Health, today, cannot be conceived without including the dimension of spirituality in it. Todaysuicides, stress, anxiety, alienation, purposelessness and extreme levels of aspirations havebecome the style of life. The relationship between spirituality and various dimensions of healthand quality of life among elderly has been extensively examined during the past decade.Empirical evidence is available in India and other countries to show a direct relation betweenspirituality, stress and quality of life. Comprehensive research evidence shows that spiritualbeliefs and practices help many physical and mental illness, reducing both symptom severityand relapse rate, speeding up and enhancing recovery, as well as rendering distress anddisability easier to endure. Spiritual care is a way of helping older people in their search for hope and meaning, especially as they face issues of grief, loss and uncertainty. The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive study was to explore the influence of spirituality in reducing thelevel of stress and improving the quality of wellbeing among the elderly practising spirituality.
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  1 Samaja Karyada HejjegaluSeptember 2012, Vo. 2, No.10, pp. 37-42 ISSN: 2230-8830 Spirituality, Stress and Wellbeing among the Elderly practisingSpirituality - P. Udhayakumar and P. Ilango ABSTRACT Health, today, cannot be conceived without including the dimension of spirituality in it. Todaysuicides, stress, anxiety, alienation, purposelessness and extreme levels of aspirations havebecome the style of life. The relationship between spirituality and various dimensions of healthand quality of life among elderly has been extensively examined during the past decade.Empirical evidence is available in India and other countries to show a direct relation betweenspirituality, stress and quality of life. Comprehensive research evidence shows that spiritualbeliefs and practices help many physical and mental illness, reducing both symptom severityand relapse rate, speeding up and enhancing recovery, as well as rendering distress anddisability easier to endure. Spiritual care is a way of helping older people in their search forhope and meaning, especially as they face issues of grief, loss and uncertainty. The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive study was to explore the influence of spirituality in reducing thelevel of stress and improving the quality of wellbeing among the elderly practising spirituality. Keywords: Elderly, Stress, Wellbeing, SpiritualityP.Udhayakumar, Ph.D Research Scholar, Department of Social work, BharathidasanUniversity, Tirchirappalli.Dr.P. Ilango, Professor & Head, Department of Social work, Bharathidasan University,Tirchirappalli. INTRODUCTION Spirituality plays an important role in Indian society across all ages. As one gets older,the role of spirituality becomes more prominent. Recent empirical studies have linkedspirituality and health (Arcury, Quandt, McDonald, & Bell, 2000; Contrada et al.,2004). There is an increasing trend today to give considerable attention to spiritualaspects of health during medical treatment. With an increased number of elderlypeople in India, health professionals, including geriatric social workers, physiciansand nurses must be able to recognize their spiritual concerns and interveneappropriately. However, a lack of information and knowledge about spiritualityaffects a professional’s comfort level in attending these spiritual aspects whileproviding health services. As a result, the elderly spiritual needs are either neglectedor redirected to religious leaders.Spirituality has been conceptualized as including an individual’s transcendentrelationship with a higher being or with the universe and has been positively linked tohope, coping, and religiosity (O’Neill and Kenny 1998). It has been found to be  2 particularly important among older adults, and positively linked to self-appraisedgood health among elders (Daaleman and Frey 2004). There are a number of cross-sectional studies that indicate many people turn to spirituality as a resource fordealing with their pain (Ashby and Lenhart, 1994; Keefe and Dolan, 1986; Keefe et al.,1997; Rosenstiel and Keefe, 1983). Although limited, there are some longitudinalstudies that suggest religion and spirituality may be positively correlated with lowerpain scores (Turner and Clancy, 1986) and improved mood (Keefe et al., 2001). Whileit is established that spirituality is often used as a coping strategy, it is still not fullyunderstood if spirituality is related to mental health, physical health, or quality of lifein those with chronic pain as findings on outcomes have thus far been mixed andinconsistent. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship betweenspirituality and stress among the elderly practising spirituality. In this study, it ishypothesized that spirituality will contribute significantly to predicting better mentalhealth. LIFE STRESS AND AFFECTIVE WELL-BEING In order to fully establish a rationale for the present investigation, literaturedocumenting a firm inverse association between spirituality (e.g. internal religiousorientations) and negative affective symptoms (e.g., Pargament, Cole, Vandecreek,Belavich, Brant, & Perez, 1999; Duncan, 2000) must be reviewed. As reported innumerous studies, adopting any one of several personal spiritual orientations often buffers against negative affective outcomes (Simoni & Ortiz, 2003; Fabricatore,Handal, & Fenzel, 2000). For example, Bush and colleagues (1999) found positivereligious coping styles to be associated with improved positive affect. Previousliterature has also pointed to a link between life stress, spirituality, and affectivewellbeing (e.g. Tarakeshwar, & Pargament, 2001, Peltzer, Cherian, & Cherian, 1999).Fehring, Brennan, and Keller (1987) demonstrated the positive impact of spiritualwell-being, existential well-being, and spiritual outlook on negative moods inresponse to life stress.Spirituality can help us develop healthy behaviors andlifestyles; find psychosocial support; and effectively deal with suffering, life’sproblems, and negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, fears, anger, and frustration(Hadzic, 2011). SPIRITUALITY AND WELLBEING The relationship between spirituality and well-being has been well-documented in theUnited States. Numerous empirical findings indicating salutary effects ofspirituality/religion on physical and mental health have been found in the literature inWestern society. In general, spirituality and religion contribute to lowering the risk ofcertain diseases (e.g., heart disease, emphysema, stroke, and kidney failure, etc.) andoverall mortality. Spirituality and religion have positive associations with well-being,general psychological function, and marital satisfaction, and negative associationswith suicide, delinquency, criminal behaviors, and drug/alcohol use. Especially, senseof hope and peace, love and joy, meaning and purpose in life, self-transcendence,forgiveness of self and others, awareness and acceptance of hardship and mortality,and a heightened sense of physical and emotional well-being have been indicated asconsequences of spirituality in nursing literature (Coyle, 2002; Haase et al., 1992; Reed,  3 1986; Tanyi, 2002). Shigaraki (1983) also maintained that whether or not people attainenlightenment, religion is considered to provide a peace of mind by integrating andharmonizing various contradictions, confrontations, and confusions in a daily life byproviding existential meaning and reality and the principle of life. People will havecomfort and hope through the existential meaning and gain emotional supportthrough the principle of life. SPIRITUALITY, WELL-BEING AND HEALTHY AGING As regarded association between health aging and religious well-being, Campbell(1981) suggested that well-being depends on the satisfaction of three basic kinds ofneed: The need for having, the need for being. A fourth set of need which wasacknowledged later was termed as the need of transcendence. This refers to the senseof wellbeing that we experience when we find a purpose to commit ourselves, whichinvolve ultimate meaning for life. Sehgal (2005) explored perspectives on health,disease, characteristics of healthy person, role yoga and meditations on health, andmethods to promote health. SPIRITUALITY AND MENTAL HEALTH Spirituality appears to be preventative of mental disorders (Cohen & Koeing, 2004).Many studies showed that spirituality has a positive correlation with life satisfaction,happiness, and higher morale. Additionally, a positive relationship with optimismand hope has been evidenced in 12 out of 14 studies with a sense of meaning andpurpose in life (15 out of 16 studies), with social support (19 out of 20 studies), andwith having higher marital satisfaction (35 out of 38 studies; Almeida et al., 2006). Inone study, quality of life was positively correlated with some indices of spiritualityand was negatively correlated with helplessness and hopelessness (Cotton et al.,1999). Some feelings triggered by beliefs such as a sense of peace, comfort,connectedness, and existential beliefs towards death and eternity have been reportedto be negatively associated with feelings of hopelessness and stress (Ironson et al.,2002). METHODOLOGY The purpose of the study was to assess level of stress and wellbeing among the elderlypractising spirituality and to find out association between socio-demographicvariables and spirituality among elders. Descriptive research design was used. A totalof 30 (15 male and 15 female) elderly practising spiritual meditation atBrahamkumaris World Spiritual University, Tiruchirappalli city, Tamilnadu, Indiawere selected through simple random sampling procedure. The inclusion criteria forthis study are (a) elders within the age group of 60- 75 years, (b) elders who haveengaged in regular spiritual meditation practice and (c) elders with regular spiritualclass attendance. The objectives of the study are:1.   To find out the socio-demographic characteristics of the elderly practisingspirituality.2.   To assess the level of stress among the respondents.3.   To identify the level of spiritual wellbeing among the elderly practisingspirituality.  4 INSTRUMENTS Interview schedule was used to collect the data. The demographic questionnaireincluded information regarding the respondent’s age, gender, race, education, familysize, marital status, monthly income, occupation, property, present health complaintsand duration of spiritual mediation practice. Level of stress was assessed by usingDASS (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale). The DASS is designed to providerelatively pure measures of the three related negative affective states of depression,anxiety, and stress developed by P. F. Lovibond & S. H. Lovibond (1995) and Spiritualwellbeing scale (SWB) developed by Paloutzian and Ellison (1982) was used tomeasure spiritual wellbeing. The SWB scale was developed by Paloutzian and Ellisonin 1982 to measure the subjective spiritual quality of life. It assesses two aspects of anindividual’s spiritual life; Religious Well Being (RWB), the individual’s feelings ofpersonal well-being with God, and Existential Well Being (EWB), a more horizontalmeasure of well being between self and others. The researcher identified potentialsubjects and invited eligible elders to participate in the study. The researchersexplained the study to all subjects and informed consent was obtained prior tocompletion of the questionnaires. The interview schedule was also pretested. The datacollected were analysed and findings were depicted in the form of percentages andproportions. RESULTS The general socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents are summarized inTabl 1. Spirituality plays an important role in Indian society across all ages. As onegets older, the role of spirituality becomes more prominent. The table depicts that(63%) of the elderly practising spirituality were in the age group of (61 to 65 years).With respect to the sex (70%) of the elderly were male and (30%) of them were female. Table 1: Distribution of the Respondents by their Spiritual Belief,Health Problem and Level of Overall Spiritual WellbeingCharacteristics No. ofRespondentsPercentageAge 60 Years61 to 65 Years66 to 70 YearsAbove 70 Years3193510631017 Sex MaleFemale2197030 Spiritual Belief Small ExtentModerateVery HighExtremely High428161372753 Health Problem Yes 15 50

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Sep 20, 2018
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