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Study Finds Spiritual Coping Behaviors May Be Key To Enhanced Trauma Recovery of Black Men Who Survive Firearm Injury

High rates of firearm injury among urban Black men in the U.S. can lead to long physical and psychological recovery times, worsened by limited access to mental health services. In the face of firearm injury, urban Black men may feel they have lost control over their lives, leading to fear, paranoia, lack of forgiveness, and different dimensions of mental health challenges, which can be difficult to overcome.

September 14, 2023
Penn Nursing doctoral student Augustine Cassis Boateng, MPH, BSN, a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation. Penn Nursing doctoral student Augustine Cassis Boateng, MPH, BSN, a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation.
Penn Nursing doctoral student Augustine Cassis Boateng, MPH, BSN, a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation.

In a pilot study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), researchers have explored how spiritual coping behaviors can aid survivors of urban firearm injury in recovery. Findings suggest that spirituality may serve as a protective factor against firearm re-injury or retaliation by promoting desired behaviors and mental health among injured urban Black men.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study offering a window into the complex role of spirituality and its utility in coping with the disproportionate burden of trauma among Black men who survive firearm injury in an urban setting,” explains lead-author and Penn Nursing doctoral student Augustine Cassis Boateng, MPH, BSN, a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation. “Combining culturally sensitive spiritual resources and psychotherapy may lead to effective trauma-informed care in addressing spiritual and existential challenges of injured urban Black men who may find spirituality important.”

The article “Spiritual Coping Behaviors Among Injured Urban Black Men in Philadelphia” details the findings. It has been published in the journal Archives of Psychiatric Nursing and is available online. Co-authors of the article include Jessica Webster, MS, LPC and Therese S. Richmond, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing, both of Penn Nursing.

This research was supported by the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation; the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health (R01NR013503); and the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Research Grant to the Penn Injury Science Center (R49C003083).

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