A Conceptualization of Spirituality among African American Young Adults

By Voisin, Dexter R.; Corbin, Dennis E. et al. | The Western Journal of Black Studies, Spring 2016 | Go to article overview

A Conceptualization of Spirituality among African American Young Adults


Voisin, Dexter R., Corbin, Dennis E., Jones, Camesha, The Western Journal of Black Studies


INTRODUCTION

The role of spirituality in the lives of many African Americans has been well documented (Bowen-Reid & Smalls, 2004; Mattis & Jager, 2001). Spirituality has helped African Americans endure adversities such as chattel slavery in the era extending from the early seventeenth century through the American Civil War, in which Blacks were classified as private property, denied rights of citizenship, forced to endure hard labor with no pay, provided minimum food and shelter, and subjected to torture and forced migration (Dash, Jackson, & Rasor, 1997; Mattis J, 2000; Newlin, Knafl, & Melkus, 2002). Spirituality has also enabled African Americans to endure and overcome Jim Crow-era segregation; white supremacist terrorism; systemic inequality in access to housing, labor protections, education, and many other rights of citizenship; ensuing economic and social hardships; and the persistence of racism (Taylor, Chatters, & Levin, 2004). Moral theory, theology, and praxis in contemporary and historical Black American church life have provided an organizing structure and framework for many African Americans to come together in addressing social injustices faced by their communities, as during the civil rights movement (Smith, 2003). It is therefore surprising that spirituality, the fellowship of Black persons of faith, and Black religious thought and life are held in high esteem and play a central role in the lives of many African Americans (Giger, Appel, Davidhizar, & Davis, 2008).

Numerous mostly quantitative studies, document that religion and spirituality are associated with positive health-related outcomes among youth (for reviews see Zebracki, Rosenthal, Tsevat & Drotar, 2006). In addition, several studies have explored the meaning of spirituality for African American adults and the elderly (Armstrong & Crowther, 2002; Banks-Wallace & Parks, 2004; Cohen, Thomas, & Williamson, 2008; Hyman & Handal, 2006). Other studies have also documented similar ttrtends showing that highly religious African American females and males are less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors relative to their counterparts (Denton, Pearce, & Smith, 2008; King, & Roeser, 2009). However, there is a dearth of research on what spirituality means for African Americans approaching adulthood (Berkel. Armstrong, & Cokley, 2004).

Spirituality among A frican Americans

A few studies have explored the meaning of spirituality for African Americas. Mattis (2000) conducted a quantitative study among a sample of African American women around 30 years of age (N=128) from a Midwestern university and surrounding communities, and a Metropolitan center in the Northeast. Fifty-three percent (53%) of respondents noted that spirituality referred to being connected to and holding a belief in a higher power. Another study, a qualitative analysis among a convenience sample of African American women ages 20 to 70 years (N=25) in a Midwestern city, documented that a majority of women participants believed that spirituality was intrinsically connected to health, well-being, and the relationships they had with others. Many women also believed that spirituality allowed them to "look within themselves, towards God, and to loved ones for wisdom, nurturing, and other resources to carry them through life's journey" (Banks-Wallace and Parks, 2004, p.34).

In another qualitative study analyzing definitions of spirituality and religiosity among a sample of African Americans and Euro-American Jews ages 65 and older (N=29), African American participants (N=15) largely defined spirituality as something that dwells within, guides, provides comfort, and empowers (Cohen,

Thomas, & Williamson, 2008). Similarly, Nelson-Becker (2002), drawing from a sample of Euro-American Jews and African American older adults (N=79) ages 58 to 92, noted that African American participants (N=42) described spirituality as held within an individual being. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Conceptualization of Spirituality among African American Young Adults
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.