Measures assessing spirituality as more than religiosity: A methodological review of nursing and health-related literature

Loralee Sessanna, Deborah S. Finnell, Meghan Underhill, Yu Ping Chang, Hsi Ling Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Aims. This paper is a report of a methodological review conducted to analyse, evaluate and synthesize the rigour of measures found in nursing and health-related literature used to assess and evaluate patient spirituality as more than religiosity. Background. Holistic healthcare practitioners recognize important distinctions exist about what constitutes spiritual care needs and preferences and what constitutes religious care needs and preferences in patient care practice. Data sources. Databases searched, limited to the years 1982 and 2009, included AMED, Alt Health Watch, CINAHL Plus with Full Text, EBSCO Host, EBSCO Host Religion and Philosophy, ERIC, Google Scholar, HAPI, HUBNET, IngentaConnect, Mental Measurements Yearbook Online, Ovid MEDLINE, Social Work Abstracts and Hill and Hood's Measures of Religiosity text. Review methods. A methodological review was carried out. Measures assessing spirituality as more than religiosity were critically reviewed including quality appraisal, relevant data extraction and a narrative synthesis of findings. Results. Ten measures fitting inclusion criteria were included in the review. Despite agreement among nursing and health-related disciplines that spirituality and religiosity are distinct and diverse concepts, the concept of spirituality was often used interchangeably with the concept religion to assess and evaluate patient spirituality. The term spiritual or spirituality was used in a preponderance of items to assess or evaluate spirituality. Conclusions. Measures differentiating spirituality from religiosity are grossly lacking in nursing and health-related literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1677-1694
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of advanced nursing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Holistic care
  • Instrument development
  • Methodological review
  • Nursing assessment
  • Religiosity
  • Research in practice
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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