Abstract

The role of religion and its relation to adjustment for 52 African American caregivers who had a child with mental retardation was examined. Comparative studies of cultural/ethnic contexts of families with a child who has disabilities often cite religion as a salient factor in family adjustment. This finding was expanded upon through (a) a focus on the African American population, (b) the relation of adjustment to religious experiences considered relevant to most African American families, and (c) documentation of the validity and reliability of the participants' responses to the Religious Connectedness Questionnaire. Religion in personal and family life and church support were related to positive outcomes in adjustment. Analysis of open-ended responses co-validated the quantitative outcomes.

Preparation of this manuscript was supported by a postdoctoral award from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) to the author and NICHD Grant No. R01 HD21324 (Jan Blacher, Principal Investigator, University of California, Riverside Families Project). Special thanks to Jan Blacher for her comments during the preparation of this manuscript and to Laraine Masters Glidden for her comments on an earlier version of this paper.

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