Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Role of religious involvement and spirituality in functioning among African Americans with cancer: testing a mediational model

The present study tested a mediational model of the role of religious involvement, spirituality, and physical/emotional functioning in a sample of African American men and women with cancer. Several mediators were proposed based on theory and previous research, including sense of meaning, positive and negative affect, and positive and negative religious coping. One hundred patients were recruited through oncologist offices, key community leaders and community organizations, and interviewed by telephone. Participants completed an established measure of religious involvement, the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being Scale (FACIT-SP-12 version 4), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), the Meaning in Life Scale, the Brief RCOPE, and the SF-12, which assesses physical and emotional functioning. Positive affect completely mediated the relationship between religious behaviors and emotional functioning. Though several other constructs showed relationships with study variables, evidence of mediation was not supported. Mediational models were not significant for the physical functioning outcome, nor were there significant main effects of religious involvement or spirituality for this outcome. Implications for cancer survivorship interventions are discussed.