Religio-biography, coping, and meaning-making among persons with HIV/AIDS

C. Jeffrey Jacobson, Sara E. Luckhaupt, Sheli DeLaney, Joel Tsevat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Recently, quality of life studies among patients with HIV/AIDS have shown high levels of life satisfaction. Spiritual and religious factors may contribute to these positive outcomes. We interviewed 19 patients with HIV/AIDS in order to understand better the role of religious-spiritual biographies and orientations in quality of life, and found four patterns to describe the ways in which past experiences with religion/spirituality and religious/spiritual meaning-making help to explain how patients are currently coping with HIV/AIDS. We illustrate each of these patterns with a prototypic patient: (1) the Deferring Believer ("God allows things to happen for a reason"); (2) the Collaborating Believer (quot;This is where I'm supposed to be"); (3) the Religious/Spiritual Seeker ("I'm trying to get my life together."); and (4) the Self-Directing Believer ("What else is new?"). The findings support a previously described theoretical model of meaning-making in response to adversity, and they suggest the value of life course and narrative approaches to understanding religious coping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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