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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Engagement of patients in religious and spiritual practices: confirmatory results with the SpREUK-P 1.1 questionnaire as a tool of quality of life research

Arndt B├╝ssing, Peter F Matthiessen, Thomas Ostermann
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2005, 3: 53
16144546

BACKGROUND: Quality of life is a multidimensional construct composed of functional, physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. In order to examine how patients with severe diseases view the impact of spirituality and religiosity on their health and how they cope with illness, we have developed the SpREUK questionnaire. We deliberately avoided the intermingling of attitudes, convictions and practices, and thus addressed the distinct forms and frequencies of spiritual/religious practices in an additional manual, the SpREUK-P questionnaire.

METHODS: The SpREUK-P was designed to differentiate spiritual, religious, existentialistic and philosophical practices. It was tested in a sample of 354 German subjects (71% women; 49.0 +/- 12.5 years). Half of them were healthy controls, while among the patients cancer was diagnosed in 54%, multiple sclerosis in 22%, and other chronic diseases in 23%. Reliability and factor analysis of the inventory were performed according to the standard procedures.

RESULTS: We confirmed the structure and consistency of the previously described 18-item SpREUK-P manual and improved the quality of the current construct by adding several new items. The new 25-item SpREUK-P 1.1 (Cronbach's alpha = 0.8517) has the following scales: (1) conventional religious practice (CRP), (2) existentialistic practice (ExP), (3) unconventional spiritual practice (USP), (4) nature/environment-oriented practice (NoP), and (5) humanistic practice (HuP). Among the tested individuals, the highest engagement scores were found for HuP and NoP, while the lowest were found for the USP. Women had significantly higher scores for ExP than male patients. With respect to age, the engagement in CRP increases with increasing age, while the engagement in a HuP decreased. Individuals with a Christian orientation and with a religious and spiritual attitude had the highest engagement scores for CRP, while the engagement in an USP was high with respect to a spiritual attitude. Variance analyses confirmed that the SpR attitude and religious affiliation are the main relevant covariates for CRP and ExP, while for the USP the SpR attitude and the educational level are of significance, but not religious affiliation. Patients with multiple sclerosis overall had the lowest engagement scores for all five forms of SpR practice, while it is remarkable that cancer patients had lower scores for HuP and USP than healthy subjects.

CONCLUSION: The current re-evaluation of the SpREUK-P questionnaire (Version 1.1) indicates that it is a reliable, valid measure of five distinct forms of spiritual, religious and philosophical practice that may be especially useful for assessing the role of spirituality and religiosity in health related research. An advantage of our instruments is the clear-cut differentiation between convictions and attitudes on the one hand, and the expression of these attitudes in a concrete engagement on the other hand.

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