Religion and Spirituality in the Life of Individuals with Paraplegia: Spiritual Journey from Trauma to Spiritual Development

Author/s: Zeynep Şimşir, S. Tuba Boynueğri, Bülent Dilmaç

DOI: 10.12738/spc.2017.1.0023 

Year: 2017 Vol: 2 Number: 1


Traumatic experiences that leave deep traces on people’s lives can lead to negative outcomes, as well as positive outcomes like maturation, growth and development. The experience known as post-traumatic growth is largely to result of one’s religious and spiritual tendencies. At the same time, traumatic experiences can lead to changes in people’s religious and spiritual lives. The aim of this research is to reveal the effects of paraplegic individuals’ religious and spiritual tendencies on their post-traumatic growth and the changes that a traumatic experience causes in one’s religious and spiritual life. The phenomenological design is used in research with a qualitative nature like this. Data were collected through interviews that were performed over 15 adults with spinal cord injuries. The obtained data were analyzed through the technique of content analysis. The themes that emerged from analysis are: ways of dealing with trauma, changes in attitudes towards God, religious practices, changes in belief in fate and an afterlife, religious participation. According to the research results, some individuals with spinal cord injuries benefit from religion and spirituality; a great majority overcome the situation by accepting it in order to cope with the traumatic experience. Many changes take place positively in these paraplegics’ religious and spiritual lives in the aftermath of their traumatic experiences, strengthening their faith in what they believe in and their ties with God. This shows that after a traumatic experience, great changes can occur in one’s religious and spiritual life.

Post-traumatic growth, Spirituality, Religion, Paraplegia, Phenomenology

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