Spirituality in the Lives of Older African-American Spousal Caregivers of Mates with Alzheimer's

Monday, July 11, 2011: 10:55 AM

Lillian Parker, MEd, MS, PhD1
Eunice Warren, PhD2
Charlene Romer, PhD2
(1)Nursing, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA
(2)School of Health Sciences, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the importance of spirituality in the lives of older African American Spousal Caregivers of Mates with AD.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to state at least 2 care strategies that can assist in meeting the care needs of African American spousal caregivers.

Purpose: This study is part of a larger study in which community dwelling older African American spousal caregivers completed in-home questionnaires on caregiver strain, spirituality, marital relationship quality and depression. The focus of this presentation is on the written textual data of African American Spousal Caregivers regarding spirituality.

Methods:  Thirty-eight participants completed the Spiritual Perspective Scale (Reed, 1968).  A single item from the scale explores the subjective views of participants regarding spirituality.  Descriptive statistics, correlations on study variables and scores from the SPS are presented along with the emergent themes from the transcribed text of participants regarding their subjective perspectives about the meaning of spirituality in their lives.

Results: The participants in this study rated their spirituality very high with a mean of 5.5 out of a possible 6 on a Likert scale indicating a greater spiritual perspective. There was an inverse relationship between spirituality and the length of time spent caregiving.  Text transcription of spirituality comments were organized into clusters and emergent themes by three content experts. Findings suggest that spirituality is an extremely important in the lives of the spousal caregivers who participated in this study.


  • Study results support the need for culture specific assessment and nursing interventions that address the spiritual needs of older African American spousal caregivers.