Advancing the Integration of Religion and Spirituality in Mental Health Care: Measurement and Current Implementation



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Research on religion, spirituality, and health indicates that assessing and discussing clients’ religion and spirituality (R/S) in practice can improve client outcomes, and that clients prefer such integration. However, few social workers have received this specialized training. This dissertation is the first study to holistically understand social workers’ orientation toward religious/spiritually integrated evidence-based practice, including their attitudes, behaviors, perceived feasibility, and self-efficacy. Consisting of three manuscripts, this dissertation includes: 1) a literature review on social work practitioners’ integration of R/S; 2) the results from the validation of the Religious/Spiritually Integrated Practice Assessment Scale; and 3) a description of the views and behaviors concerning the integration of clients’ R/S among a national sample of LCSWs. Findings highlight a need to expand training for social workers and allied fields on the use of ethical and effective integration of clients’ R/S into treatment. Implications for social work education, practice, and research are provided.



Religion, Spirituality, Social work, Social sciences, Practitioners, Education, Attitudes, Views, Behaviors, Scale development, Evidence-based practice


Portions of this document appear in: Oxhandler, Holly K., and Kenneth I. Pargament. "Social work practitioners' integration of clients' religion and spirituality in practice: A literature review." Social Work 59, no. 3 (2014): 271-279.