Exploring spirituality in Iranian healthy elderly people: A qualitative content analysis

Abolfazl Rahimi, Monireh Anoosheh, Fazlollah Ahmadi, Mahshid Foroughan


Background: Spirituality is recognized as a personally important matter to the elderly, and there are evidences of its impact on their health. The aim of this study was to explore the concept of spirituality from the perspectives of Iranian healthy elderly individuals.

Materials and Methods: A conventional qualitative content analysis of carried out with 21 healthy elderly people from both male and female genders were chosen using a purposive sampling method in Tehran in 2010‑2011. Data collection was done through semi structured interviews. A qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the participants’ experiences and perceptions on spirituality, using a central question ‘what characterizes the spirituality in the Iranian healthy elderly people?’

Results: The following categories emerged from the data analysis: (1) Spiritual health, with four sub categories including saying prayer as a calming factor; beneficence as a way to God; loss of psychological and spiritual support; faith as a way to happiness; (2) spiritual beliefs, with three sub categories including seeking help from God in difficulties; God‘s power over life and death; doing good deeds is the God’s will; and (3) religious practice with three sub categories including saying prayer; reading Quran; and going to mosque, religious ceremonies and pilgrimage.

Conclusions: In this study was found that spirituality was a fundamental element in elderly individuals’ lives that help them to adapt with daily living conditions.

Key words: Content analysis, elderly, Iran, qualitative research, spirituality

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