Spirituality and Religion in Leading Social Work Journals: A 10-Year Content Analysis

David R. Hodge, Breanna M. Carpenter, Rachel A. Yepez, Bryan C. Lietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study examined the inclusion of content on spirituality and religion in leading social work journals. To accomplish this aim, the authors preformed a content analysis of 10 years of publication (2008 to 2017, inclusive) in nine discourse-shaping journals (Social Work, Social Work Research, Families in Society, Social Service Review, Child Welfare, Research on Social Work Practice, Journal of Social Service Research, Journal of Social Work Education, and Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research). In addition to determining the prevalence of spirituality and religious content, the authors examined the frequency with which various religious groups are depicted, the substantive area of focus (for example, micro, macro), and methodological characteristics (for example, conceptual, empirical). The results suggest that spirituality and religion receive minimal attention in the profession’s most prestigious journals, which, in turn, may negatively affect the profession’s ability to comply with its ethical and educational standards regarding spirituality and religion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalSocial work research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • content analysis
  • cultural competence
  • religion
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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