Type of Document Dissertation Author Reese, Theresa Catherine Author's Email Address Treese2@aol.com URN etd-02062004-233614 Title The Relationship Between Spirituality and Adaptation to Disability in Older Adults Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Special Education, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title E. Jane Burkhead Committee Chair Deanna Epley Committee Member Marie Cowart Committee Member Mary Francis Hanline Committee Member Keywords
- Older Adults
Date of Defense 2003-12-12 Availability unrestricted AbstractHealthcare in 2003 is making more demands of the professionalís resources of time and money with fewer services offered to their consumers. This study examined an important, yet overlooked, resource available and affordable to all. The resource is spirituality.
This research reviewed the literature on two aspects of spirituality, a) beliefs and practices and b) social support that one derives from their spiritual community. Moreover, it reviewed aspects of adaptation to disability among older adults.
The research available poses varying and confusing definitions of spirituality. However, this research identified an operational definition for both spirituality and religion, in addition to adaptation to disability, and chronic and static states of disability.
The goal of this research was to determine if there is a positive relationship between spirituality and adaptation to disability among older adults. As the results indicated, there were no statistically significant findings in regard to the four hypotheses:
a) There is a significant positive relationship between high and medium spiritual beliefs and practices, as measured by the SBI-15R, and successful adaptation to disability in older adults.
b) There is a significant positive relationship between high and medium social support, as measured by the SBI-15R, and successful adaptation to disability in older adults.
c) There is a significant positive relationship between high to medium levels of spirituality, measured by participantsí Likert scale position, and successful adaptation to disability in older adults.
d) There is a significant positive relationship between high to medium social support, measured by the participantsí Likert scale position, and successful adaptation to disability in older adults.
However, the information is valuable for rehabilitation counselors and healthcare professionals who are researching these variables of interest. Instrumentation is addressed in Chapter Five as well as significant supplemental findings.
Of particular interest is the subjective spirituality Likert score and the relationship to the Systems of Belief Inventory subscale of beliefs and practices. Spirituality is a subjective concept, which many instruments try to measure. In view of the fact that spirituality is subjective, this author proposed to use a 10-point Likert scale and ask the participants how spiritual would they rate themselves in addition to the Systems of Belief Inventory and try to determine if there was a relationship between the two measures. Statistical analysis determined that a moderate relationship does exist between the subjective spirituality Likert scale and the Systems of Belief Inventory. This finding could potentially represent a cost effective and accurate report of a personís perception of their level of spirituality that could be used in an initial intake interview. This was, in fact, a serendipitous finding that showed a statistically significant moderate relationship between subjective and objective measures of spirituality. Future studies will be done to determine the reliability of this instrument.
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