There is growing evidence that aspects of spirituality have an impact on health. Measures of spirituality must be adapted to the kinds of populations being studied. In order to investigate how patients with chronic diseases living in secular societies view the impact of spirituality on their health and how they cope with illness, the SpREUK questionnaire was developed.
This paper describes the background and psychometric properties of an assessment tool which might be suited for patients living in secular societies, and summarizes confirmatory findings of patients from Germany.
Design and participants
Cross-sectional study among 496 patients (mean age 53.5±14.4 years) with chronic diseases (84% chronic pain conditions, 6% cancer, and 10% other). All subjects completed the questionnaires by themselves.
We intended to develop a short form of the already established SpREUK questionnaire, and tested it with respect to its factorial structure and conceptual validity. Other measures were engagement in spiritual practices (SpREUK-P), life satisfaction (BMLSS), and interpretation of illness (IIQ).
The good psychometric properties of the contextual (disease-related) instrument which differentiates 3 factors were confirmed: (1) Trust (in Higher Guidance/Source) (alpha=0.898), (2) Search (for Support/Access to Spirituality/Religiosity) (alpha=0.844), and (3) Reflection (Positive Interpretation of Disease) (alpha=0.736). Particularly the positive interpretations of disease were moderately associated with Search and Trust, indicating their spiritual connotation.
To assess aspects of spirituality in secular societies which are not biased for or against a particular religious commitment, the SpREUK-SF10 questionnaire appears to be a good choice. Adaptations to other cultural backgrounds are encouraged.