Journal of Cancer Education; Jill B. Hamilton, Nakia C. Best, Tara A. Barney, Valarie C. Worthy, Nichole R. Phillips; Published on Feb. 17, 2021; DOI: 10.1007/s13187-021-01974-8


African American women with breast cancer generally rely on their spirituality to cope with psychosocial issues encountered during survivorship. However, in order to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19, a potentially deadly disease, it is imperative that community-dwelling older adults physically distance themselves from supportive family, friends, and even traditional faith-based activities. In this report, we explore the ways in which spirituality was used to manage stressors during this pandemic. This is a qualitative descriptive study with content analysis of data from the narratives from 18 African American breast cancer survivors. Participants were interviewed via phone and video conferencing platform and asked to respond to questions of strategies used to manage stressors encountered during this COVID-19 pandemic. Spirituality enabled African American breast cancer survivors to better manage their psychological distress through (1) increased engagement in religious activities; (2) reliance on God for protection when fearful, feeling isolated, and in need of assistance to pay household bills; (3) finding joy and courage from listening to gospel music and reading scripture; and (4) finding meaning through spirituality. These findings suggest that in spite of physical distancing requirements that impose limited access to faith-based institutions during this COVID-19 pandemic, spirituality continues to be a supportive resource to manage emotional stressors.