“Waiting for a miracle”: Spirituality/Religiosity in coping with sickle cell disease

ABSTRACT Objective: To understand spirituality/religiosity as experienced by people with sickle cell disease, and its influence on coping with the disease. Method: A qualitative, descriptive, and exploratory study conducted in the State of Bahia. Twenty-nine respondents participated in semi-structured interviews. Content analysis was used to analyze the empirical material. Results: Individuals with sickle cell disease experience spirituality/religiosity motivated by their hope for a miracle, and fear of death; among their rites are: reading religious materials, individual and group prayer, and attendance at worship services. The effects on their health include: comfort by means of coping by comparing two evils, anxiety relief, social support, and lifestyle changes; however, spirituality/religiosity may be impaired. Final considerations: This study demonstrates the need to qualify health professionals to address spiritual issues of these individuals during illness, with the aims of diagnosing suffering and anguish, and providing care, comfort and strengthening of the spiritual bonds of these individuals.