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November 2021

Faith development in the lives of HIV-positive adults

Author(s): Merriam, S. B., Reeves, P. M.

Journal/Book: J Relig Health. 1999; 38: 233 Spring St, New York, NY 10013-1578, USA. Kluwer Academic-Human Sciences Press. 203-218.

Abstract: Studies of religious faith consistently document the important role of religion in the lives of adults. Investigations of adult religious faith also suggest that a life crisis can stimulate faith development. However, these earlier studies do not explain how a life-threatening crisis changes adult religious faith. This study examines the impact of an HIV-positive diagnosis on adult religious faith development. Interviews were conducted with 18 HIV-positive men and women under 45 years of age. The researchers found that an HIV-positive diagnosis affects faith development in these ways: the perspective of faith shifts from a religious to a spiritual orientation for which the participants feel a stronger sense of ownership; the concept of God changes from an authoritarian to an empowering figure, and views of the self are transformed to include others.

Note: Article Courtenay BC, Univ Georgia, Dept Adult Educ, Athens,GA 30602 USA

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