Development of White's Theory of Spirituality and Spirityal Self-Care

White, Mary L.

Self-care is an important component in the treatment of heart failure (HF) to reduce the debilitating effects of the illness. Spirituality is the beliefs people hold related to their subjective sense of existential connectedness including beliefs that reflect relationships with others, acknowledge a higher power, and recognize an individual’s place in the world that lead to spiritual practices. Spiritual self-care is the set of spiritually-based practices in which people engage to promote continued personal development and well-being in health and illness. Integrating the constructs of spirituality and spiritual self-care to expand Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory is a critical step in theory development of White’s Spirituality and Spiritual Self-Care Theory. Theoretical clarity is needed to understand the contributions of spirituality to health and well-being. Spirituality in African Americans can be empowering and self-motivating, and provides coping skills needed for everyday life. Among African Americans, spirituality is a powerful influence on health beliefs, practices, and outcomes. The ability of African Americans to cope with HF may be related to their perceived spirituality, levels of depression, and ability to engage in self-care and spiritual self-care for their condition. The purpose of this study was to extend the concept of spirituality and spiritual self-care within Orem’s self-care nursing theory that can contribute to the quality of life of African American men and women diagnosed with HF. The study included 140 African American men and women in treatment for HF who are completing instruments to measure spirituality, spiritual practices, HF self-care procedures, depression, physical and mental health, and quality of life. The findings supported the validity of White’s Spirituality and Spiritual Self-Care Theory.