The spiritual orientation of mental health professionals: An exploratory study

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Paul H. Blaney - Committee Chair


This study explored the role of mental health professionals' personal spiritual beliefs in their use of spiritual interventions in clinical practice. Another goal of the study was to validate the Spiritual Orientation Inventory (SOI), an 85-item measure of spirituality. Surveys were sent to 800 randomly selected mental health professionals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to being given the SOI, the participants were asked to fill out a survey containing demographic items and items pertaining to the types of interventions utilized in their clinical practice. Survey items were used to derive an attitude scale to measure participants' attitudes about spirituality in clinical practice and an intervention scale to measure of how frequently professionals utilize spiritual interventions in clinical practice. The total score on the SOI predicted 35.6% of the variance in the log10 of the intervention scale score. It only predicted 7.3% of the variance uniquely; however, this is a larger proportion of the variance than predicted by other variables. The total SOI score predicted 36.1% of the variance of the attitude scale score. Thus, the personal spirituality of the participants, as measured by the SOI, is significantly related to attitudes about spirituality and the frequency with which spiritual interventions are used in clinical practice. The SOI was also found to have good internal consistency.


Religion, General; Psychology, Clinical

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