Self, stigma, and identity work in the Pentecostal experience of illness.




Isaacs, Shelly A.

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I examine the religious behaviors and interactions of ill Pentecostals and charismatics as they engage with a religious group and belief system that teaches that God wants to heal all believers in this life. I use the Baylor Religion Survey (2010) to model OLS regressions of how attendance and prayer are affected by the experience of illness and Pentecostalism, and I also analyze 18 interviews with ill Pentecostals for themes of private and public religious interactions. I find that being both ill and Pentecostal has a negative effect on church attendance compared with no effect on attendance for other ill persons. However, ill persons and Pentecostals both pray more often. My interview data suggest that while Pentecostals engage in accepting internal interaction rituals like prayer, their external interactions may be characterized by challenges to moral status that provide limited opportunities for acceptance of a personal identity characterized by illness.



Pentecostalism., Illness., Identity., Stigma., Facework.