Significance: African Americans represent a vulnerable population due to the many health disparities and inequalities they face, including higher rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and shorter life expectancy (NIH, 2013). Exploring the relationships among sense of coherence (SOC), predictors of SOC and outcomes such as stress and health status may offer valuable insight into addressing the complexities of these health disparities. Researchers planning interventions to address health disparities for African-Americans are advised to consider faith-based organizations (FBOs) as a resource for health promotion. African American churches meet numerous needs for congregants. Yet, little research explores how FBOs influence management of stressors. Guided by Antonovsky's salutogenic health promotion model, the purpose of this mixed method study was to examine the impact of participating in FBOs on SOC, stress management, and perceived health in African-American adults. Research Questions: The research questions for this study included: (1) what are the relationships among FBO participation, SOC scores, perceived stress, and perceived health status in African American adults, (2) what generalized resistant resources (GRR) factors are most predictive of increased SOC in African American adults, (3) what is the difference in SOC scores, perceived health status, and perceived stress between African American adults who report participation in FBOs and African American adults who do not report participation in an FBO, and (4) what is the lived experience of African American adults as it relates to SOC and managing stressors? Methods: A sample of African American participants (n=190) completed quantitative instruments including a demographic survey, Orientation to Life Questionnaire, Brief Religious Coping Scale, Perceived Stress Scale, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. A subset of the sample (n=7) participated in structured qualitative interviews using questions derived from quantitative results. Planned Analysis: Correlations, multiple linear regression, and MANOVA were used to analyze quantitative results. Thematic content analysis was used to determine recurring themes of qualitative interviews and to explain quantitative findings.

Date of publication

Fall 1-7-2015

Document Type

Dissertation (Local Only Access)



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