Spiritual coping behaviors may be key to enhanced trauma recovery of Black men who survive firearm injury

A new study from the Penn School of Nursing explores the complex role of spirituality as a coping mechanism for the burden of trauma.

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.

Augustine Cassis Boateng.
Penn Nursing doctoral student Augustine Cassis Boateng. (Image: Penn School of Nursing)

In a pilot study from Penn’s School of 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 reinjury or retaliation by promoting desired behaviors and mental health among injured urban Black men. The study, titled “Spiritual coping behaviors among injured urban black men in Philadelphia,” is published in Archives of Psychiatric Nursing.

“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, 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.”

Read more at Penn Nursing News.