Frameworks for Ascribing Meaning: An Examination of Adolescents' Lived Experiences of Illness
1 online resource (201 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The importance of religion and spirituality (R & S) in adults' experiences of illness is well established. Findings range from lower reported levels of distress following diagnoses of illnesses to adults' use of these existential frameworks to understand life events. However, few such studies include adolescents, a group facing a series of normative, but potentially stressful changes. Most quantitative studies of R & S, adolescent health behaviors, and/or psychological well-being do not address R & S in the context of serious physical illnesses, and they do not allow adolescents to describe how meaning-making occurs during times of illness or whether R & S may be involved in this process. The current study addressed some of these limitations. Twenty-six undergraduate students provided stories of their illnesses and were asked to describe what R & S mean to them. Participants also reflected on issues related to meaning-making and the overall effect of illness on their lives. Lastly, participants were asked if R & S played any role in their meaning-making process. Results revealed that participants viewed R & S as multidimensional concepts characterized by beliefs, behaviors, and social connections. The use of social comparison and the Internet represent sample meaning-making categories, and responses such as "there's a reason for everything" suggest that R & S did play a role in participants' illness experiences. Consideration was given to issues of rigor as well as to researcher bias. Limitations, strengths, and implications of these findings are discussed in addition to potential future research directions.
ADOLESCENTCHRONIC ILLNESSMEANING-MAKINGRELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
Webb, JenniferReeve, CharlieTullis, JillianRobinson, Joanne
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2013.
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