Religion and spirituality as defined by older adults.

Journal of gerontological social work

PubMedID: 19043904

Cohen HL, Thomas CL, Williamson C. Religion and spirituality as defined by older adults. J Gerontol Soc Work. 2008;51(3-4):284-99.
This exploratory qualitative study examined the intrinsic definitions of spirituality and religion across three different religious or ethnic groups of older adults--Jewish, African American Protestants and Caucasian Protestants. The study explores how older adults from these various backgrounds self-identify with the terms religion and spirituality. Because both African-Americans and Jewish older adults are underrepresented in the research on spirituality and religion, their inclusion lends insights to this topic and helps to anchor the findings in a cross-cultural context. Focus groups were employed to understand how these groups characterize their relationship to spirituality and religion. Social work professionals can utilize these findings to work more effectively with the diverse and complex issues of older adults.