To access this work you must either be on the Smith College campus OR have valid Smith login credentials.

On Campus users: To access this work if you are on campus please Select the Download button.

Off Campus users: To access this work from off campus, please select the Off-Campus button and enter your Smith username and password when prompted.

Non-Smith users: You may request this item through Interlibrary Loan at your own library.

Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Spirituality, Spirituality-Psychology, Faith, Chronic illness-Psychological aspects, Adjustment (Psychology), Well-being-Religious aspects, Chronic renal failure-Patients-Religious life, Coping skills, Spiritual assessment, Chronic illness, Chronically ill-Religious life


This qualitative study incorporated a semi-structured intensive interview process to explore the meaning of spirituality in the lived experiences of 12 African American End Stage Renal Disease patients receiving hemodialysis. The study utilized a phenomenological methodology. Three overarching themes emerged from the data analysis. They were: (1) Faith that God Cares, which emanated from the belief that God or the Divine would bring them through whatever challenge they faced; (2) Finding Meaning in Ailment and Pain, which seemed to have a spiritually transformative impact resulting in the emergence of both an altruistic self and a selfaffirmed self; and (3) The significance of concrete support by family, which included housing and personal care underscored through prayers offered by friends and others. The findings of this study point to the identification and use of spiritual assessment tools as a guide for clinical social work practice. Spiritual assessments may help identify the strengths of spirituality in the development of positive coping skills in patients diagnosed with chronic or end stage illness within populations for whom spirituality may be significant.




vi, 104 pages. Dissertation (Ph.D.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-94)