Although 35 women were recruited, two participants in the nonspiritual group had to be dropped from the analysis due to incomplete data, as did five women in the spiritual group. Thus, the final sample size was N = 28: n = 9 in the nonspiritual group, and n = 19 in the spiritual group.
Participants in the nonspiritual group had a mean age of 52.44 years (SD = 12.08). Around 56% had college or graduate degrees, 33.3% were high school graduates or had completed some college, and 11.1% had not completed high school. Fifty percent were married, about 38% never married, and 12.5% were widowed. Most (87.5%) reported their health status as “good” to “excellent,” while 12.5% reported their health status as “fair.” About 38% were employed full-time, 37.5% were retired, and 25.0% were home-makers or unemployed. Twenty-five percent reported annual household income as less than $10,000, 50.0% reported income in the $10,000 – $49,999 range, and 25.0% reported income ≥ $50,000.
Participants in the spiritual group had a mean age of 49.84 (SD = 7.39). Around 21% had college or graduate degrees, over two-thirds (68.4%) were high school graduates or had completed some college, and 10.5% had not completed high school. Over two-thirds (68.4%) were married, 10.5% never married, 10.5% were separated, and 10.6 % were either widowed or divorced. Most (77.8%) reported their health status as “good” or “very good,” while 22.2% reported their health status as “fair.” Two-thirds (66.7%) were employed full-time, 5.6% were retired, and 27.8% were employed part-time. Around 11% reported annual household income as less than $10,000 per year, most (83.3%) reported income in the $10,000 to $99,999 range, and 5.6% reported income ≥$50,000.
Within group comparisons were performed on the pre-and post-physiologic measures by group using Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Tests (see ). Results for the nonspiritual group (n = 9) indicated statistically significant reductions in weight (Z = −1.96, p =. 05) and in systolic blood pressure (Z = −2.31, p = .02). Results for the spiritual group (n = 19) indicated statistically significant reductions in weight, in systolic blood pressure and in BMI (Z = −2.77, p <.01; Z = −1.97, p = .05; and Z = −2.55, p = .01, respectively), and a clinically significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure (Z = −1.92, p < .06).
Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Tests for Differences Between Pre- and Post-Physiologic Measures by Group
For psychosocial data comparisons, Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Tests were used to assess pre-to post-changes within groups for percent energy from fat, physical activity, and communication with physicians. For the spiritual group, statistically significant improvements were found in physical activity (pre mean=19.27 (SD=2.61), post mean=30.99 (SD=3.79); Z = −2.74, p < .01) and in communication with health care providers (pre mean=3.32 (SD=0.29), post mean=3.94 (SD=0.28); Z = −2.06, p = .04). No other statistically significant changes were demonstrated.
Qualitative Data Results
In the final, post-test session of the curriculum, participants in both groups were asked for their verbal and written feedback concerning the content, delivery and relevance of the LIFE project. Their responses were overwhelmingly positive. They reported that they understood the content, learned new information, and that they particularly enjoyed the participatory physical activity demonstrations with the trainer and the food preparation demonstrations—trying out familiar ethnic foods prepared in new, healthy ways. They also reported enjoying the group format and coming together weekly. Many expressed sadness that the groups were ending. One group began making plans to continue physical activity components of the LIFE Project by arranging to walk together around their church.