Spirituality, Self-management and Chronic Disease among Ethnic Groups of Robeson County, North Carolina (2016-2017)

Engagement in self-management skills—such as an effective approach to managing stress levels—has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes. What is less well known is the extent to which individual and community-based factors contribute to self-engagement.

Spirituality, which has been associated with positive effects on mental health including coping, resiliency and fostering social networks, plays an important role in effective improvement of chronic disease outcomes among minority populations.

Located in southeastern North Carolina, Robeson County has a diverse population of Lumbee Indians, African Americans, Caucasians and Hispanics. It is the poorest county in the state and county ranks at the bottom in length of life, quality of life, health behaviors, social and economic factors and clinical care measures. Mortality rates are twice the state average for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and the county’s rate of end-stage kidney disease is among the highest in the U.S.

This Bass Connections project team set out to assess the spiritual and self-management practices of adults living with chronic diseases in Robeson County and to determine differences in spiritual and religious practices across major ethnic groups living in the county. Team members formulated testable hypotheses and developed research plans. In Summer 2016, the team focused on assessing gaps, barriers and resources in the county with regard to chronic kidney disease and how these factors differ across ethnic and racial groups. Team members conducted quantitative and qualitative interviews with adults of all ages, with and without chronic kidney disease. Questions were related to positive mental health, coping, stress, neighborhood cohesion, self-efficacy, communication and health literacy. The team also conducted focus groups and tested participants for kidney disease.

Timing

Summer 2016 – Spring 2017

This Team in the News

Our View: When It Comes to Taking Care of Patients, Tanzania and North Carolina Have a Lot in Common

John Stanifer: To Tanzania and Back

2017 Teaching Award Winners (Cherry Beasley)

Student Research Team Laying Groundwork for Improved Health in Robeson County, NC

Congratulations to the Student Leadership and Service Award Winners

Additional support for this project was provided by the Silver Family Kenan Institute for Ethics Fund in Support of Bass Connections.

Themes

Faculty/Staff Team Members

David Boyd, Duke Global Health Institute
Clarissa Diamantidis, School of Medicine - Medicine - General Internal Medicine*
Uptal Patel, School of Medicine - Nephrology*
John Stanifer, School of Medicine - Nephrology and Duke Clinical Research Institute*
David Toole, Divinity School*

Undergraduate Team Members

Emily Horn, Global Health (AB), Public Policy Studies (AB2)
Christiana Oshotse, Global Health (AB), Biology (BS2)

Community Team Members

Cherry Beasley, UNC Pembroke - Nursing*
Ronny Bell, Wake Forest - Epidemiology

* denotes team leader

Status

Completed, Archived