Spiritual needs in health care settings: A qualitative meta-synthesis of clients' perspectives

David Hodge, Violet E. Horvath

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    78 Scopus citations


    Spiritual needs often emerge in the context of receiving health or behavioral healthservices. Yet, despite the prevalence and salience of spiritual needs in service provision, clients often report their spiritual needs are inadequately addressed. In light of research suggesting that most social workers have received minimal training in identifying spiritual needs, this study uses a qualitative meta-synthesis (N = 11 studies) to identifyand describe clients' perceptions of their spiritual needs in health care settings. The results revealed six interrelated themes: (1) meaning, purpose, and hope; (2) relationshipwith God; (3) spiritual practices; (4) religious obligations; (5) interpersonal connection; and (6) professional staff interactions. The implications of the findings are discussed as they intersect social work practice and education.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)306-316
    Number of pages11
    JournalSocial work
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Oct 2011


    • Meta-synthesis
    • Religious needs
    • Spiritual assessment
    • Spiritual needs
    • Spirituality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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