Exploring the Role of Spirituality As A Coping Mechanism: The Case of the Elderly People Facing the Challenges of Loneliness in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


In Ethiopia, research on elderly is an emerging study area. Though the existing researches show the challenge of loneliness in the lives of the elderly, no research was conducted on spirituality as a coping mechanism. Therefore, this study aimed at exploring the role of spirituality as a coping mechanism for the elderly people who faces the challenges of loneliness. To get a better understanding of the subject matter, a qualitative approach of case study was used to explore the topic well through in-depth interviews. For the research, eight elders of over sixty years of age were selected using purposive sampling technique from Woreda (district) 01 and 03 of Yeka Subcity in Addis Ababa. Data was collected through semi-structured open ended interview guide for this case-study. Two focus group discussions were also conducted in the two Woredas from groups composed of different age groups coming from different walks of life in order to get better supporting information to the findings of the case study. In addition, secondary data was utilized and the reviews of the documents were used. The collected data was thematically analyzed and interpreted. The findings of the study identified the contributing factors to loneliness in the lives of the elderly, the effect of loneliness, the elders’ religious activities and their role in coping loneliness, spirituality and its meaning for the elders, how the elderly cope in the challenging times and their sources of strength for hard times and where they get spiritual support from. This study had tried to fill the gap by contributing some insight on how spirituality can contribute to the coping mechanism of the elderly which in return contributed to their wellbeing. Key words: elderly, loneliness, spirituality, religiosity, coping mechanism.



Elderly, loneliness, spirituality, religiosity, coping mechanism.