In the UK, stroke is the third most common cause of death for women and the incidence in African Caribbean women is higher than that in the general population. Stroke burden has major consequences for the physical, mental and social health of African Caribbean women. In order to adjust to life after stroke, individuals affected employ a range of strategies which may include personal, religious (church) or spiritual support (i.e. prayer), individual motivation or resignation to life with a disability. This study explored these areas through the coping mechanisms that African Caribbean women utilised post stroke in the context of stroke recovery and lifestyle modification efforts needed to promote healthy living post stroke. A qualitative approach using interpretative phenomenological analysis was adopted. Seven women were recruited into the study. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were audio recorded and were transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using a four-stage framework: familiarisation, sense making, developing themes, and data refinement and analysis. Three main themes on coping emerged: the need to follow medical rules to manage stroke, strength and determination, and the use of religion and faith to cope with life after stroke. These findings illustrate both a tension between religious beliefs and the medical approach to stroke and highlight the potential benefits that religion and the church can play in stroke recovery. Implications for practice include acknowledgement and inclusion of religion- and church-based health promotion in post-stroke recovery.
- African Caribbean women
- life after stroke