Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Response to Commentary: Is there a spiritual life outside religion?

Katia G. Reinert, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, PHCNS-BC

Response to Bert Garssen's Commentary on Reinert K.G. & Koenig H.G. (2013) Re-examining definitions of spirituality in nursing research. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69 (12), 2622–2634. doi: 10.1111/jan.12152


Thank you for a thoughtful response to our article (Reinert & Koenig 2013). While we understand the concern voiced in the response, we would like to restate what we proposed and why. We proposed that reducing spirituality to religion (not for clinical practice but for the purposes of research) is critical, since it is difficult if not impossible to measure spirituality as a distinctive construct except by measuring religion.

We agree and fully support the notion that spirituality can be broadened beyond religion to be inclusive for clinical purposes, but for conducting research, there is too much overlap with mental health constructs due to the way spirituality is currently being measured in nursing research, as we described in the article.

Our main point is that the results of research examining spirituality and mental health is virtually impossible to interpret due to the tautology in relationships between constructs being measured. Only by measuring spirituality by religion can we retain the distinctiveness of the concept.


Katia G. Reinert, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, PHCNS-BC
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Baltimore, MD
e-mail: kreiner1@jhu.edu


Reference

Reinert K.G. & Koenig H.G. (2013) Re-examining definitions of spirituality in nursing research. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69 (12), 2622–2634. doi: 10.1111/jan.12152


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