Younger African American Adults' Use of Religious Songs to Manage Stressful Life Events

J Relig Health. 2017 Feb;56(1):329-344. doi: 10.1007/s10943-016-0288-6.


The aim of this study was to explore the use of religious songs in response to stressful life events among young African American adults. Fifty-five young African American adults aged 18-49 participated in a qualitative study involving criterion sampling and open-ended interviews. Data analysis included content analysis and descriptive statistics. Stressful life events were related to work or school; caregiving and death of a family member; and relationships. Religious songs represented five categories: Instructive, Communication with God, Thanksgiving and Praise, Memory of Forefathers, and Life after Death. The tradition of using religious songs in response to stressful life events continues among these young adults. Incorporating religious songs into health-promoting interventions might enhance their cultural relevance to this population.

Keywords: Culture; Mental health; Religious songs; Spirituality; Younger African American adults.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Young Adult