Annual Meeting: 2009 Poster Sessions

Below you will find abstracts, contact information and presentation materials that have been made available by the poster presenters for the upcoming 2nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Spirituality, Theology & Health. You may search by topic, or scroll down to see information about all of the sessions.


Family & Community Health
Generational Health & Spirituality
Practices & Beliefs
Spiritual Assessment across Religions
Theological Considerations

Family & Community Health

"Self-Transcendence through Participation in Mission Trips"
Elizabeth Fiske, PhD, RN, NNP, BC

Assistant Professor
Carson-Newman College
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There is a paucity of literature related to short-term, foreign, health care missions; however, these trips are becoming increasingly commonplace. In the anecdotal literature, mission trips are often described as life changing and the descriptions are quite similar to the concept of self-transcendence as defined in the nursing literature. Reed's (2003) middle range theory of self-transcendence was used as the theoretical framework to investigate the presence and possible relationship of self-transcendence and spiritual well-being in persons who have completed at least one mission trip. Scores on Reed's Self-Transcendence Scale and on the Spirituality Index of Well-Being were higher in mission participants than in participants of comparison studies. Responses to open-ended questions illustrated the profound personal growth experienced through participating in missions. Findings from this study may be applied to mission training activities and potentially to other relief endeavors.

"Mindfulness & Spirituality: Implications for Healthy Relationships"
Laura Eubanks Gambrel, MA

PhD Student
Virginia Tech
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The health benefits of mindfulness interventions with individuals in psychotherapy are being demonstrated by current research, including effectively treating depression and anxiety, chronic pain, and addiction. More recent research shows correlations with mindfulness and improvements in relational satisfaction, empathy development, and more skillful communication. Within the context of this research, this presentation will explore the implications for integrating mindfulness, as defined as nonjudgmental awareness, into systemic psychotherapy practice and training with an emphasis on spirituality. Mindfulness in the field of psychotherapy is often limited to a Buddhist framework. This presentation argues that an expanded view of mindfulness in a broader context within wisdom traditions including Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and contemplative Christianity will increase efficacy and appeal to more diverse populations. Finally, this presentation argues for further research on the relationship between spirituality and mindfulness.

"Spirituality & Sexual Attitudes"
Laura Eubanks Gambrel, MA

PhD Student
Virginia Tech
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Darren Moore, MA

This study investigated the correlation between spirituality and sexual attitudes utilizing the Spirituality Scale and the Brief Sexual Attitudes Scale. The sample consisted on 161 college students. Results found significant negative correlations between spirituality and permissiveness, and instrumentality and permissiveness, and no significant relationships between attitude toward birth control and spirituality, or communion and spirituality. Similar to other studies we also found a significant difference between male and female attitudes towards permissive sex. Clinical implications of these findings include ways to reduce high risk sexual behavior and increasing sexual and relational satisfaction. Further research is suggested regarding the continued finding that there is no significant relationship between communion and spirituality. Qualitative research may help to discover ways in which people are integrating their spirituality into their sexual expression.

"Elder-Caregiver Dyad: Evidence for Interdependence of Psychological, Physical, Social & Spiritual Well-being"
Suk-Sun Kim, PhD, RN, MSN

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health
Duke University Medical Center
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: David Hayward, PhD; Harold Koenig, MD, MHSc; Keith Meador, MD, ThM, MPH

Family members are by definition interdependent and affect one another in various ways, particularly in situations where a family member is providing essential caregiving for an elder family member. However, there is a dearth of published research regarding the family interdependence. This study was to explore family interdependence of psychological, physical, social and spiritual well-being between elders and their family caregivers in the context of Korean family caregiving. 157 Korean elder-family caregiver dyads were collected in Seoul, Korea. For each dyad partner, well-being was measured across four dimensions. Substantial within-dyad congruence was found for psychological, social, and spiritual well-being, but not for physical well-being. The interdependence of elder and caregiver outcomes on these dimensions of well-being persisted even after controlling for demographic and family characteristics using multivariate linear regression. In conclusion, nurse and other health care professionals should include family caregivers as collaborative partners to enhance well-being of elders.

"Comparing Reported Benefits between Religious & Secular Groups: A Qualitative Analysis"
Holly Pope, MSPH, PhD(c)

Project Manager, Research Associate
The University of South Carolina
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Maggi Chandlee, MPH, PhD(c); Robert McKeown, PhD

Understanding Social and Personal Aspects of Faith and Practice Related to Health, with funding through Duke University, conducted 72 in-depth interviews to explore the benefits of participation in religious communities among regular attendees of religious services (RA) compared to infrequent or non-attendees (INA). Eligible participants were African American and Caucasian adults over age 50 classified as 1) RA who participated in Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength (HSMS), a congregation-based intervention, 2) RA who were not part of HSMS, and 3) INA. Qualitative analysis revealed major differences between RA and INA regarding the benefits received from faith group participation. HSMS participants identified unique benefits compared to the other study groups related to race and faith perspectives. Results support 1) religious groups may have a greater impact on social, emotional, and spiritual health compared to secular groups, and 2) the HSMS program may improve spiritual and social formation in a diverse setting.

"The Human Occupational and Social Dynamics of Spiritual Development"
Janice K. Ryan, OTD, OTR/L

Certified Human Systems Dynamics Professional
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The human occupational and social dynamics of spiritual development has been modeled as a nonlinear adaptive system and is currently being applied to design of nine resident-centered memory care programs and in a faith-based, holistic mental health program. Current theories of neuro-occupation, coupled with human systems dynamics theories of social change provide a study approach that equips professionals to model patterns of interrelationship between the inner self and outer self within a social context. Strategies and tools used to successfully facilitate healthy intrapersonal, interpersonal and transpersonal spiritual-social patterns in small groups will be introduced. The promise of applying nonlinear dynamics to the study of spirituality will be discussed as a process by which strategies to facilitate a shift toward a more non-judgmental culture may emerge transcendent of the common dichotomies, dualities and separations that often limit holism and person-centeredness in our current health care system.

"The Effect of the TOZI Healing Retreat on Family Survivors"
Inez Tuck, PhD, MBA, MDiv

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Berverly Baliko, PhD; Christine Schubert, PhD; Lorraine Anderston, MS

Homicide is the second leading cause of death for persons between ages 15 – 24 and negatively impacts family survivors. This exploratory, longitudinal study tested the effects of an over-night healing retreat on mind, body and spirit outcomes over a three month period. Eight persons attended the retreat and completed the study instruments. Seven participants reported a religious affiliation. Although sample size was too small to detect statistically significant differences, notable changes were observed. Increases over 12 weeks were found in General and Spiritual Well-being, positive Religious Coping and Unforgiveness - Avoidance. Forgiveness increased greatly. Slight decreases were noted in the Impact of Event, Negative Religious Coping, Overall Unforgiveness, depression, and PTSD. Scores of Hope and Grief reverted back to baseline at 12 weeks. The findings indicated the hypothesized clustering of spiritual healing outcomes. Positive responses to the intervention affirm its usefulness for intervening with family survivors of homicide.

back to top

Generational Health & Spirituality

"Women Divine: Inter-generational Women's Spiritual Themes & Activities
Michele Kielty Briggs

Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology
James Madison University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-author: Ashley Sutt

This presentation includes themes from interdisciplinary literature about the foundations of women's spirituality. The presenter is a part of an inter- generational women's spirituality group, the purpose of which is to experience spirituality through collective practice. Activities have included: centering prayer, collaborative painting, storytelling, finger-painting, outdoor meditation, movement exercises, music meditation, etc. This presentation will explore unique aspects of women's spirituality as well as the process and outcomes of the inter-generational group. The presentation will involve small group participation related to the aforementioned spiritual growth activities. Activities can be tailored to meet the needs of clients, counseling groups, religious groups, and individuals with diverse belief systems. Suggestions for structuring the activities, as well as processing them, will be given.

"Paradigm Shift towards Positive Health & Healthspan Outcomes in Orthopedic Events for Ageing Diverse Populations"
Christine Grant, PhD

Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Special Initiatives
North Carolina State University College of Engineering
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Tonya Taylor-Harris, BA; Keith Meador, MD, ThM, MPH; Elizabeth Hooten, ScD; Khaled Saleh; Wendy Novicoff

The purpose of this project is to increase the amount of successful orthopedic outcomes for the sector of culturally-diverse patients through (i) the use of a health navigator interface which will enable negotiations between the patients and the medical system on issues relating to primary care or medical practices, (ii) capitalizing on the intersection of future doctors with an ageing population in faith based communities as well as emphasizing the significance of their presence in the profession and (iii) an improved understanding and application of the important role that faith has within an ageing patient's rehabilitation, commitment, and interaction with medical professionals. In a multi-disciplinary approach, this project interlinks orthopedic clinicians, spirituality specialists, medical and public health researchers, and professional developers of wellness care programs for elderly patients and will culminate in a national invited summit.

"Healing in the 'Pentecostal Tradition'"
Bonnie F. Hatchett, PhD, ACSW, LMSWBRE

Associate Professor
University of Arkansas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Divine healing is a belief and doctrine that is taught among Pentecostals. This poster exhibit will discuss the concept of divine healing as highlighted in biblical references tracing Old and New Testament scriptures to give a historical perspective. Also included will be the interpretation as manifested in Pentecostal Tradition, including the "laying on of hands." God honors the laying on of hands, and through this act there is a definite impartation of the power of God. Faith is in the hand that reaches out to receive from the Lord that which is needed. When healing takes place, it is Jesus Christ who does the healing. The Bible clearly states that there is divine healing for our bodies. The relationship between the physical and emotional self with the spiritual, as they relate to health will be highlighted as well excerpts from interviews regarding personal experiences with divine healing.

"Comparative Study of a Non-Spiritual Baby Boomer with a Spiritual Elderly Family Member"
Adrene Siesta Hill, MA, MDiv

PhD Student
Texas Woman's University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This paper is a comparative study of a spiritual elderly family member in the home of a non spiritual baby boomer family member. The paper looks at how removing an elderly family member from their familiar settings of church, home, and community without taking into consideration their total lifestyle can cause a slow spiritual death. The paper outlines the life style and care of the nonbeliever as opposed to the lifestyle of the spiritual elderly family member. The paper will analyze the strengths, weaknesses and the differences of the baby boomer that was reared by the spiritual elderly member. The paper will conclude by reflecting upon the knowledge gained in the course of this research – namely, that dignity and identity are key issues in the appropriate model of care for the spiritual elderly living in the home of the baby boomer.

"Suspicion about God & the Potential Health Consequences among the British"
Jean Kiernan, EdD

Chair, Associate Professor
Georgetown College
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The primary purpose of this empirical study was to investigate belief in God among British residents (n = 704). Information was collected and analyzed on belief in God, previous belief in God, belief in a higher power, meaning in life, spirituality, and fulfillment in life. The following were found to be significantly correlated (p<.05) with belief in God: Life is fulfilling (.049); Meaning in Life (.048); Belief in a Higher Power (.028); Describing oneself a s a spiritual person (.022); Previous belief in God (-.020). Numerous studies have documented the health benefits of believing in a higher power or God. Benson found that "faith quiets the mind like no other form of belief." Faith, spirituality, and church are now viewed as consumer products. With belief in God being at an all time low in Britain, perhaps the British residents need to reconsider how to market and promote these valuable products.

"Discernment & Hereditary Cancer: An Ignatian Perspective"
Charlotte LaForest, MA, MSW

Graduate Student, Boston College
Spiritual Care Coordinator, AseraCare Hospice
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A positive test result for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carries with it a host of medical, psychosocial and spiritual factors that demand simultaneous consideration. What does the discovery of a hereditary risk for breast and ovarian cancer mean for a woman's understanding of self, God, family, body, and sexuality? How can a pastoral counselor, therapist, or chaplain accompany a woman as she decides between preventative strategies such as prophylactic surgeries, chemoprevention, or vigilant screenings? Employing principles of discernment from The Spiritual Exercises by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, this paper offers suggestions for incorporating mind, heart, and spirit into a process of medical decision-making. This method offers rational, imaginative, and emotional considerations of a woman's options through the lens of that which she finds life-giving and meaningful. Though rooted in Ignatian spirituality, these concepts are presented with special emphasis on their adaptability for women of all faiths and backgrounds.

"The Impact of Globalization on Health Habits and Spiritual-Well-Being amongst College Students in Mumbai, India"
Hillary A. Lewin, BA

PhD Candidate
Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology Yeshiva University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Sonia Suchday, PhD; Health Glubo, BA; Pejman Sheatpour, MD, PhD

Globalization has impacted individuals around the world in countless ways. This study examined the effects of globalization on the health habits and spiritual well being of college students with diverse religious backgrounds in Mumbai, India. We hypothesized that with increasing levels of globalization there would be a decline in the health habits and spiritual well-being. The Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS), The Health Habits Questionnaire (HHQ) and The Impact of Globalization Scale (IGS) were used to test this hypothesis. A total of 286 students completed the questionnaires. In the first step of the analysis, the robustness of the reliability and the validity of the scales were established. In the second step, factor analysis was conducted on all the scales. The SWBS yielded a distinct construct measuring spirituality. The total scores from each obtained construct were then used in a correlation analysis to characterize the interrelationship between Spirituality, Health and Globalization.

"Forgiveness & Health among South African University Students"
Amy Owen, PhD

Research Assistant, Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2009-2010 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health
Duke University Medical Center
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Psychological research on interpersonal forgiveness tends to be narrowly focused on individual mental health variables, potentially limiting our knowledge of the full impact forgiveness can have. In addition, outcomes of interpersonal forgiveness have not been widely assessed in Africa. In this study, South African university students who self-identified as having forgiven someone who hurt them deeply and unfairly reported whether or not they had experienced changes in various areas since forgiving. Participants reported changes in their spirituality or religious practice (74%), physical health (47%), relationships (92%), participation in social change (32%), community involvement (26.3%), and emotional well-being (95%). Themes were identified from descriptions of change in each area. The results of this study indicate that forgivers may experience a wide range of beneficial outcomes, including changes in physical health, and that international research on forgiveness should assess these variables more extensively to better understand the full impact of forgiveness.

back to top

Practices & Beliefs

"Assessment of the Religious Behaviors & Spiritual Experiences of Chronically Ill Older Adults"
Gracie H. Boswell, PhD

Research Scientist
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Atchley's (1995) continuity theory of the spiritual self posits that a vision of one's past, present and future is interconnected. In adapting to aging, people make use of prior beliefs (e.g., religion), cultural patterns of living, and their self concepts in order to find meaning in their lives and come into the fullness of their own spiritual maturity. Guided by Atchley's (1995) theory, this study used structural equation modeling to test the extent of the relationship between two dimensions of religious behavior and the reporting of spiritual experiences among 221 chronically ill older adults. A CFA confirmed the construct validity of a short form of the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale (Fetzer, 1999). Additionally, analysis of a SEM model revealed that private but not public religious behavior, may serve as a vehicle for the awareness of spiritual experiences in a sample of older adults.

"Spiritual Perspectives of Intensive Care Nurses"
Deborah Boucher-Payne, BS, MDiv

Director, Pastoral Care & Patient Services
University of Nebraska Medical Center
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A qualitative research protocol, conducted at The Nebraska Medical Center, consisted of interviews with intensive care nurses regarding their spiritual perspectives in regard to nursing practice. The study provided insights into the diverse spiritual beliefs of an ecumenical group of nurses who work in the Adult Intensive Care Unit. The data demonstrates the breadth of religious practice and how spiritual beliefs impact the professional lives of this particular nursing group. The religious traditions represented include Catholic, Protestant Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist. As a result of the study, a model for spiritual support of this nursing group was developed, implemented and evaluated.

"The Diverse Spiritual & Religious Beliefs of Medical Students: Implications for Patient Care"
Jennifer Duncan, PsyD

Post-Doctoral Project Coordinator
Northwestern University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Gloria M. Workman, PhD; Michelle M. Lee, PhD; Don E. Workman, PhD; Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, FACOI; Kathleen Ruroede, PhD, MEd, RN

Providing medical students with training in patient spirituality is an important area in medical education (Kliger, et al., 2004). Moreover, practitioners' spiritual/religious beliefs can influence their clinical practices (Barnett & Fortin, 2006). An essential component of training in spirituality is helping students to understand their own spiritual/religious beliefs and how their personal spiritual/religious views can impact patient care. This study examines the relationship between spiritual competency, spiritual well-being, and religious affiliation. Participants were 118 medical students at one university who completed a brief survey. The sample included diverse religious affiliations, with all major religious groups represented. Results showed that medical students who identified a religious affiliation also reported higher spiritual competency. Additionally, significant differences were found between students' religious preferences and spiritual well-being. These findings, although preliminary, highlight the need for educators to be sensitive to the diverse range of student religious affiliations when providing training in this area.

"TIBETAN MEDICINE: Birth, Wellbeing, Sickness, Old Age & Death"
Ralph Quinlan Forde

Holistic Medicine Consultant
The University of Reading

Tibetan Medicine is the oldest holistic medical system in the world having been successfully practiced for over 1000 years. This art of healing has always been used with the vital spiritual component and promotes health as well as treating disease. Tibetan Medicine is a system of spiritual enlightenment. The medicine practiced by the Tibetans holds compassion or bodhicitta as being the ultimate medicine. Tibetan Doctors train for ten years and are specialists in all areas. Their sophisticated synergistic herbal formulas, over 1000, restore health without side effects. This integrative medicine supports and assists at birth, living with meaning, dying & death with also spiritually rich guidance for the in between space called bardo described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. One of the greatest contributions that Tibetan Medicine has to make to the west in the coming decades is in psychiatry, mental health and spiritual care.

"Beyond Academia: Assessing the Spread of Findings from Religion and Health Research into Popular Culture (An Exploratory Analysis)"
Steven M. Frenk, MA

PhD Candidate
Duke University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Steven Foy, BA; Keith Meador, MD, ThM, MPH

More than 1200 studies have examined the connection between religion and health (Koenig 2000). However, the extent to which this research has reached beyond academia and into popular culture remains unclear. We assess this potential diffusion by searching national and regional newspapers, weekly periodicals, and transcripts from interviews with religious adults asked about the link between religion and health for mentions of religion and health research. From the 1990's onward, we note a rise in the number of articles focusing on religion and health research and our analysis of interview transcripts reveals that some religious adults support their views on religion and health with findings fromt he religion and health literature. In light of these findings, we conclude that religion and health research is reaching audiences outside of academia, and we discuss additional ways to document and understand the role of religion and health research in popular culture.

"Spirituality & Adaptation to Cancer: A Preliminary Model"
Luz M. Garcini, MA

Graduate Student
Health Psychology Research Group at the University of Houston
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Stacy A. Ogbeide, MS; Mary J. Naus, PhD

A cancer diagnosis is a distressing life event that may often trigger a psychosocial crisis that must be resolved in order to preserve the self. As the individual moves through the different phases of cancer survivorship, he/she must find a resolution to conflicting "issues" similar to those proposed by Erikson (1950) in his Theory of Psychosocial Development. Spirituality offers unique and valuable resources that provide answers to these "issues," and helps mediate the resolution to the crises precipitated by the cancer experience. In order to understand the role of spirituality in this process, four issues are addressed: a functional definition of spirituality and its dimensions; the multi-functional role that spirituality may play as part of the context, process, and outcome to adaptation; how spiritual resources may act as mediators in the process; and a preliminary model to illustrate the role of spirituality in the adaptation process.

"Spiritual Warfare: Moral Distress"
Jennifer Gentry, RN, MSN, ANP, ACHPN, FPCN

Nurse Practitioner
Duke University Health System
Co-authors: Anthony. N. Galanos, MD; Leslie Bryan, MD

Honoring patient values and caring for the human spirit are central to the work of palliative care teams. When spiritual beliefs, patient values, and the health care system collide, conflict is a common outcome as in the case of a woman with advanced ovarian cancer. Facing poor odds for survival, this woman pursued aggressive curative care and shunned any "negative talk" throughout the course of her illness. With "expect a miracle" as a banner during hospitalization, her faith would not allow for discussion of prognosis, decline or death. During the last weeks of her life, her family upheld these desires for aggressive care as they dressed in combat fatigues and prepared for "battle with the devil." Moral distress is a common occurrence when providers are compelled to offer care that conflicts with their own values. The work of the palliative care team was in large part to support the ICU staff while supporting the family.

"Religious & Spiritual Content in Physical Therapy Curricula: A Survey of U.S. Program Directors"
Martha E. F. Highfield, PhD, RN

Professor of Nursing
California State University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Diana J. Osterhues, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT; Lawrence Chu, PhD, MPH, MS

This cross-sectional survey was designed to explore whether U.S. physical therapy programs are preparing students to practice within the context patients' religious/spiritual beliefs and practices. We queried all 196 directors of APTA-member programs using an online, investigator-designed questionnaire. Fifty-eight (58) responded for a 29% response rate. Two (2) programs required separate courses on religion/spirituality, and 24% had courses with a religious/spiritual component. Students in religiously-affiliated universities were 9.3 times more likely to be involved in religious/spiritual extra-curricular activities (X2 = 12.93; p < 0.01). Program degree offered and university affiliation, however, were unrelated to other learning opportunities regarding religion/spirituality. Most directors identified religion/spirituality curricula as important (88%) and expected interns to address related concerns (52%). Directors less than 50 years old rated religious/spiritual care preparation as more important than did older respondents (X2 = 21.28; p < 0.05). This study best serves as a stimulus for further dialogue and research.

"Constructing Authentic Relationships through Client Narratives"
Anne E. Jenkins, BS, MA, EdM, MDiv, DMin

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Winston-Salem State University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Competent healthcare delivery involves developing client specific contextual awareness, knowledge, and skills to optimize client outcomes. To do this, healthcare providers need to look at elements embedded in the client's narrative, particularly spiritual aspects. Many healthcare providers present themselves as walking, talking, and being bodies of knowledge when confronting clients who seek service. Too often the client has little or no opportunity to come forth to present his or her own, equally important body of knowledge...the context of being, which is embedded in the client's narrative. In creating a space for the client to share his or her story, the groundwork for trust is constructed. This author suggests a process for constructing authentic relationships through client narratives. The benefit of client narratives to treatment intervention includes greater client compliance, improved health outcome, and increased cultural awareness for both the client and the healthcare provider.

"Put out your Nets for a Catch"
Michelle Midkiff, RN, MSN

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Internal Medicine Specialists
Adjunct Faculty, Loyola University New Orleans

According to the word of God, Jesus called His disciples to 'Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.' (Luke 5:4) He didn't say "the shallow water" or the "warm water." He also didn't indicate what fish to catch. He instructed His disciples to go out into the deep water and bring in the fish, as many fish as the net could hold. This presentation will encourage a personal examination of the health care provider's perception of his or her role as a healer, teacher, and comforter. It will further offer counsel on how to weave a strong net into your practice and be willing and excited to catch all of the different types of fish (people of all faiths) and cherish each one as God the Father cherishes each one of us.

"Healing the Feelings; Embracing Self-Love"
Rev. Bettye Muwwakkil, PhD

Executive Director
Be-Whole Foundation
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Women are in search of remedies that ease wounds, heal fears and strengthen ones' ability to change. Spirituality is a power tool to women experiencing chronic illnesses/life challenges. "Sacred Praise and Healing Circle" is a model Women's Spiritual Support Service incorporating, movement, prayer, affirmations, meditation, and inspirational messages. The Circle is a framework of compassion, blending transformational rituals that encourage women to: engage thoughts; feelings; discover underlying dynamics of aliveness; release trapped energies; rebuild self-love; regain balance; faith-build; re-shape positive values; responsible behaviors; determined in making changes okay; develop and enhance spiritual energies; and nurture the emergence of wisdom. Participants are enlightened as they remember and/or learn the importance of discovering their correct path to inner healing and increase awareness to available and accessible spiritual based women support services that are non-judgmental, non-critical and thus promote the awakening to ones greatest potentials to live a quality life.

"Religious Coping and Quality of Life among Individuals Living with Schizophrenia"
Jennifer A. Nolan, PhD, MHS, MS

Associate Consultant, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Duke University Medical Center
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Purpose: This study investigates the role of religious coping on quality of life among individuals living with schizophrenia.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were administered to 63 outpatients in the Southeastern US. Descriptive, bivariate statistics, multivariate and univariate General Linear Models (GLMs) were performed controlling for potential confounders to examine the relationship between positive and negative religious coping (RCOPE) and each of the facets of the WHOQOL-BREF.
Results: Positive religious coping was significantly related to the WHOQOL domain of psychological health (r = 0.28, p = 0.03), with a positive trend for the domain of physical health. Negative religious coping and overall quality of life were inversely related (r = - 0.30, p = 0.02). In post-hoc tests, positive religious coping was significant with the domain of psychological health in the reduced univariate GLM (β= 0.72; p= 0.03 adj. R2=0.08) and a positive trend was observed with the domain of physical health.

"View of God: Impact on Coping & Psycho-spiritual Outcomes for Breast Cancer Survivors"
Judith A. Schreiber, RN, PhD (c)

Research Assistant, PhD student
University of Kentucky College of Nursing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Beliefs about God form an essential part of an individual's worldview. This cross-sectional comparative study (n=120) examined four views of God, Authoritarian (n = 28), Benevolent (n = 29), Critical (n = 28), Distant (n = 34), in relation to depression, anxiety, stress, psychological well-being, religious coping, and concerns about recurrence among early breast cancer survivors. Concerns about recurrence, depression, and anxiety did not significantly differ among the four views of God. Significant differences were found between the a) Authoritarian/Benevolent and Critical/Distant groups for psychological well-being and religious coping; and b) Authoritarian/Critical and Benevolent/Distant groups for stress. The results suggest that belief in a highly engaged God (Authoritarian/Benevolent) significantly affects psychological issues and religious coping. This exploratory study affirms the idea that a particular belief system can influence both psychological well-being and religious coping.

"Awakening a Sense of the Spiritual: Liver Organ Recipients' Journey through Post-Transplant Recovery"
Roberta Schweitzer, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor
Purdue University School of Nursing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Purpose: Liver transplant recipients face death, organ rejection and long-term complications. Few studies have examined the role of spiritual and religious beliefs and practices in recipients' coping. This study explored recipients' spiritual dimension during their first year of recovery. Design/Methods: Using a phenomenological approach, data were collected from 20 liver recipients through semi-interviews at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year post-transplantation. Resulting themes (Colaizzi's method) were compared across the three interview points and across the whole sample for patterns. Results: The overarching theme, Awakening a Sense of the Spiritual, includes 4 subthemes: Experiencing a Miracle, Reassessment of Priorities/Perspectives, Affirmation/Reaffirmation of Religious Beliefs/Practices, and Spiritual Transformation/Distress. Conclusions: Spiritual and religious beliefs and practices were identified throughout liver recipients' post-transplant recovery with prevalent themes shifting during the year. Findings highlight the importance of integrating spiritual and religious beliefs and practice into care of transplant recipients/families to enhance coping, quality of life and physical wellbeing.

"Spirit Seeker's Wholistic Expo: A Qualitative Study"
Jessica Sippy, MA

Graduate Student
Washington University in St. Louis
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Using qualitative methods, this research examines the Spirit Seeker's Wholistic Expo that was held in St. Louis, Missouri in March of 2008. The study's purpose is to shed light on the practices and beliefs put forth at this event. A qualitative content analysis of literature offered at the event and participant observation uncovered emerging themes. Analyses indicate four prominent themes: 1) the belief that the body is an aspect of spirituality, 2) spirituality as an antidote to an unhealthy society, 3) an emphasis on healing, and 4) a focus on connection. Furthermore, the booths present at the expo were examined and grouped into various categories. Study findings are placed within the context of the relevant literature.

"Effects of Sacred Shamanic Music on Trauma Related Disorder: Dissociative Disorders and Music Played on a Native American Flute"
Lenore L. Wiand, PhD

Group Facilitator
Thomas More Institute

The poster describes cross-cultural spiritual beliefs in ancient cultures and spiritual traditions regarding cocepts of an interconnected sacred Oneness. It looks at trauma cross-cultually, both psychologically and spiritually. Theoretically and through research, the concept of healin (i.e.returning to wholeness) through sacred music was expored as a potential and viable avenue in the treatment of trauma. The research involved two groups; a trauma diagnosis group and college student group, N=94. Two types of music were used; either a recording of music paying on an Aboriginal flute (Ancient Spirits by Aluna) or new age genre music. Anxiety and perceptions of interconnectedness were assessed. The significan statistical relsults were supported and elucidated by interview data. Results were highly significant indicating the power of this particular music played on the Aboriginal flute and opening exploration into other music. The results were exciting and appear both psychologically and spiritually profound.

back to top

Spiritual Assessment across Religions

"Does a Credible God Help Patients Cope?"
Saul Boyarsky, MD, JD, FACS, FAAGUS, FAAFS

Consulting Associate, Surgery/Urology
Research Associate Honoris Causa, Center for Jewish Studies, Duke University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Amit Bhagwandass, BA; Mark S. Litwin, MD, MPH; Charles D. Scales, Jr., MD, MSc

A Credible God today is an evolutionary bundle or amalgam of virtuous spirits (Love, Justice, Truth, L'Chayim, Hope, Compassion, etc.), resonating with those who are scientifically trained, truth-based and faith-based. Physicians and chaplains can fine tune their understanding of God to help patients cope with suffering better, thus combining technological and religious modalities – from organ transplantation, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, yoga, prayer, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy to watchful waiting.
Five levels of biological organization, 5. Spiritual,, 3.psychological, 2.functional and 1.morphological, now supersede the dichotomy of the psychosomatic medical model. Patient diagnoses can firm up on evidence-based practice. More effective therapies will emerge.

"Beyond Religious Systems - A Simplified Understanding of Spirituality"
Peg Gotthold, BSME

Spiritual Director
Presbyterian Church USA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Today's trend is equating religious affiliation with personal spiritual beliefs. While knowledge of the religious practices of the patient and family are a foundation for gaining insight into personal spiritual life, to equate religious practice to spiritual may compound difficulties for the physician attempting to incorporate patient spirituality into the therapeutic setting. The prime difficulty is the physician's lack of knowledge of the diverse world religious systems with their subsystems and the possible distortion caused by the personal translation of the religious system through the lens of the physician's personal belief system. Secondly there are aspects of the spiritual life which are not completely within the realm of religious practice and there will be patients who lave a spiritual life outside religious practice. This presentation puts forth a practical model for understanding spiritual life fundamentals as defined by the leaders of spiritual nurturing across religious belief systems throughout their historical development.

"Chaplaincy from 12th Century to 21st Century: Equality Impact of the Chaplaincy Services, London UK 2008: Using Patient & Staff Surveys, Cultural & Ethnicity Data
Rev. Mia Hilborn, BSc, MA

Hospitaller, Head of Spiritual Care, Chaplaincy Team Leader
Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The equality impact of the chaplaincy services was carried out as part of a spiritual health care review at GST to see whether the service was fit for purpose in today's multi-cultural London. St Thomas' was founded in the 12th century as a Christian Augustinian Priory caring for the sick who fell at London Bridge; it now cares for one million patients annually. Can a chaplaincy service over 800 years be relevant? The review used local census data, a patient and staff survey, and interviews. The religious diversity of the team was shown to match the religious diversity of the patient population, the cultural diversity of the team was seen to be strength both for now and for future developments. The team has been challenged to become a centre of excellence for diversity in chaplaincy, including all aspects of spiritual care and to be a research centre for culturally appropriate spiritual care.

"Deconstructing the Spiritual Recovery Process"
Louis Nieuwenhuizen, MTh, MS, BCC

PsyD Student, Capella University
Hospital Chaplain, Rogue Valley Medical Center
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the interest of gaining deeper insight into non-normative life changes, following disillusionment of health related assumptions, the author developed a model, explaining the progression through the spiritual recovery process. After a preliminary cross section phenomenological study, producing two published articles in refereed journals, the author aims to validate this model in his doctoral program. This multi dimensional stage model features an integration of; the trajectory of spiritual well-being over time and a multi dimensional portrait of the spiritual-self. The three tiered spiritual-self is composed of; engrained core beliefs, engrained behavioral patterns and first level coping mechanisms focused on managing proximal processes. Spiritual well-being over time, following the disillusionment of core beliefs, seems to follow one of two possible trajectories. Super-imposing these trajectories on the model of the spiritual-self, reveals seven identifiable stages in the deconstruction-reconstruction of the spiritual-self. This model opens exciting possibilities for spiritual assessment across religions.

back to top

Theological Considerations

"Principles of Geriatric Medicine Described in Holy Scripture"
William Gottlob Berlinger, III, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine
Chief, Geriatrics Division
Drexel University College of Medicine
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

An elderly person with chronic disease of one organ (e.g. dementia) may function well until a second organ (e.g. urinary bladder) acutely decompensates (e.g. urinary tract infection). Often, the former organ (brain) manifests acute dysfunction (e.g. delirium), distracting the health care worker from the cause. Scripture from Judeo-Christian sources states: "all scripture is given by inspiration of God...that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16). This presentation asks whether scripture addresses such phenomena. In 1 Corinthians 12:26, it states, "Whether one member (of the body) suffer, all members suffer with it"; being interpreted, when the bladder hurts, the whole body (including the brain) hurts with it. Case studies will be presented to demonstrate the value of scripture towards providing a foundation for better understanding of health and disease across the course of life.
Principle 1
Principle 2
Principle 3
Principle 4
Principle 5

"The Spirituality & Health Connection from the Christian Perspective: So What?"
Dale Fletcher, MS

Faith and Health Connection
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

83% of Americans report an affiliation with the Christian faith (Gallop, 2008). Researchers, medical professionals, and health educators could benefit from understanding the dynamics of this connection from a Christian perspective. God, man's creator, inspired the authors of the Bible. This timeless book contains spiritual truths and guidelines about how to cope with life's stressors and enjoy a high quality of life and well-being. Those who live by God's guidelines are better equipped to manage stressors and have improved emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health. By better understanding Christian biblical principles, researchers can improve study designs, leading to improved documentation of the spirituality and health link. Likewise, physicians and clinicians might better appreciate patients'spiritual status, enabling them to better care for the whole person. Health educators could incorporate the information on the connection into their instruction, thereby increasing participants' understanding of faith and health in their own lives, leading to improved well being.

"Redefining Persons as Relations in Facing Dementia"
Arvin M. Gouw, BA, MA

PhD Student
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As we age, dementia is almost inevitable. Dementia can have negative impacts on one's consciousness. For example, Alzheimer's patients lose their memories. Some think they are younger than they really are, mistaking their children for their siblings. Others find it difficult to pray and relate to God. But does that mean an Alzheimer's patient has become less of a person? If one is to follow the classical definition of person, using categories such as substance, accidents, and attributes, then perhaps yes. But, Zizioulas' notion of being as communion, and person as relations may prove to be a better model in understanding personhood in cases of dementia. This presentation seeks to explore the implications of such a relational model for dealing with dementia, both for the patients and their caretakers.

"Physician Training, Theology & Medical Decision Making: A Spiritual Approach to the Suffering Patient"
Elizabeth Marshall, MD

Family Physician
The Everett Clinic
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rapid advances in technology and science are outpacing medical decision making paradigms incorporating a patient's and families' personal belief systems. Peter Kreeft's continuum of relationship with death, from death as the enemy to death as lover, is an example of a simple but effective "measure" of beliefs impacting an individual's approach to life threatening illness. Is it possible to reject technology and science and accept death? Is it possible for physicians to make this a readily available choice, even to voice that choice, for their patients? Physicians using this and similar models can offer their patients not only medical treatments, but plant seeds for spiritual healing in the seriously ill patient - and the latter may then change the patient's approach to living and dying.

"Hosptial Chaplains' Involvement in Research: Opportunities, Guidelines, & Implications for Spiritual Care"
Floyd G. O'Bryan, MS

Director of Chaplain Services
Mayo Clinic
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Katherine M. Piderman, PhD; Mary E. Johnson, MA

Over the last few decades, there has been growing emphasis on the importance of research to clarify the relationship between spirituality and health. Because of their theological training, chaplains can make vital and unique contributions to these investigations. Some important considerations in making a wise, reasonable response to an invitation to participate in research include: passionate, committed interest in the study; understanding of the research design; dependable, ethical leadership of the principal investigator; respectful working relationship with co-investigators; clarity of expectations and ability to fulfill them. Several recently completed studies indicate that research in spirituality and health can provide chaplains with opportunities for increased clinical effectiveness as research results are applied to ministry, e.g. centering prayer with cancer patients; spiritual dialogue with persons with advanced cancer; private spiritual practices with persons with alcoholism; spiritual care of elderly persons with depression; and response to spiritual needs of medical and surgical inpatients.

"Autonomy, Freedom, and Rational Suicide: Human Flourishing within End of Life Contexts: A Catholic Perspective"
Fr. Christopher M. Saliga, OP, RN

Chaplain and Medical Ethics Lecturer, Walsh University
Ethics Consultant, Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-authors: Jeffery Hover; Jeremiah Curtis; Ellyn Mayher

Some who argue in favor of assisted suicide (AKA aid in dying) presuppose a narrow understanding of human freedom while some who argue against it presuppose a more extensive understanding of freedom. Within this presentation, a distinction between "freedom of indifference" and "freedom for excellence" explicated by the late Fr. Servais Pinckaers, OP is applied to two end-of-life cases. In the end, this distinction helps one see that formal cooperation with rational/voluntary suicide in the name of "free choice" contravenes "freedom for excellence" unto problematic practical and moral outcomes. From a Catholic perspective, helping folks voluntarily commit suicide is seen to violate human flourishing insofar as doing so violates "freedom for excellence."
Poster (open the Read Only copy when prompted)

back to top

Sign up for mailing list

Duke Medicine