University of Alabama student, Danielle McDuffie, is calling on volunteers for a study she is carrying out on the ability of faith to help those who are grieving from falling into depression. She is particularly interested in honing on the middle-aged/senior African-American population, because although there are a plethora of studies on the ability of religion to help cope with mourning and other big stressors, few are focused on middle aged African-American adults.
“I believe it’s a touchy topic in terms of psychology because with a lot of psychologists it’s hard to broach the line between science and religion,” said McDuffie, who notes that it has been hard to find people willing to take part in her study.
What do We Currently Know about How African-Americans Face Grief?
A 2008 study carried out by A Lauria and Robert Neimeyer was one of the few to focus on how the grieving process affects different ethnic groups, with a specific focus on African American experiences of identity change, interpersonal effects of loss, and continuing attachment to the deceased. The study involved close to 1,600 bereaved college students. Results showed that African Americans experienced a larger number of losses owing to homicide, and maintenance of a stronger continued bond with a deceased loved one. They also felt deeper grief for loss of kin beyond the immediate family, and a greater sense of support, despite a lesser tendency to speak about their loss or turn to therapy to ease the grieving process.
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