Simpson, Briggs, and Dorsett, 2016). However, the mechanisms via which spirituality influences psychosocial adjustment remains unclear, resulting in a gap in knowledge. Considering depression and rates of suicide for persons with SCI are higher than people without disabilities, (Marini & Glover-Graf, 2011), it is important to further investigate psychosocial mechanisms, such as spirituality, that may improve mental health and quality of life for persons with SCI to mitigate potential negative outcomes.Spirituality and HappinessSpirituality has long been associated with better health, a longer life span, and greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction (Udermann, 2000). Martinez and Scott (2014) identify spirituality as a strong psychosocial predictor of happiness implying spirituality influences engagement in meaningful daily activities which then influences happiness. For persons with disabilities, one study shows spirituality is a strong predictor for happiness, controlling for inflammation, pain and stiffness, physical functioning, age, and mood in those diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (Bartlett, Piedmont, Bilderback, Matsumoto, & Bathon, 2003). In another study, a spiritualty-based intervention led to increased hope, happiness, and life satisfaction in breast cancer survivors (Fallah, Golzari, Dastin, & Akbari, 2011). These studies elucidate the need to further investigate of the impact of spirituality and mental health outcomes including
happiness and well-being.Psychosocial MechanismsDue to an emerging conceptual framework highlighting spirituality as an important positive coping strategy for psychosocial adaptation to chronic illness and disability, the need for further research forms the basis for the current study. Specifically, we examine the underlying psychosocial mechanisms by which health status, perceived stress, social support, self-esteem, and psychological well-being influence the relationship between spirituality and happiness based on the following summative review of the literature.Health status. The relationship between spirituality and health status has been well-documented in the literature. Research indicates spirituality and regular engagement in spiritual practices, such as prayer and service attendance, are strong predictors of general health status independent of age, level of education, and socioeconomic status (Krause, Emmons, & Ironson, 2015; Ferraro & Albrecht-Johnson, 1991). Spirituality also plays a role in recovery and healing. For example, in a study of heart-transplant recipients, those persons who reported strong spiritual beliefs and regular spiritual service attendance adhered more closely to their rehabilitation plan, had higher physical functioning levels, and better indexes of emotional wellbeing (Harris et al., 1995). Hudson (1996) states the beneficial effects of
spirituality are not just limited to individuals with strong spiritual beliefs prior to the onset of illness. In Hudson's study, those who increased their level of spiritual commitment while in treatment reported their health as better
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- Spring '19
- Tom Pope