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Ambul Pediatr. 2002 Jan-Feb;2(1):5-10.

Faculty and resident attitudes about spirituality and religion in the provision of pediatric health care.

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Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



To characterize pediatricians' attitudes toward spirituality/religion (S/R) in relationship to the practice of pediatrics.


Pediatric faculty (n = 100) and residents (n = 65) in an urban academic medical center completed a questionnaire about their attitudes toward and clinical practices related to S/R. Study variables included the strength of personal S/R orientation, attitudes toward S/R, clinicians' discussion of S/R with patients and families, self-reported S/R behaviors, the medical conditions that warrant discussion of S/R, and attitudes toward praying with patients if asked to do so.


Sixty-five percent of pediatricians felt that faith plays a role in healing, and 76% reported feeling comfortable praying with a patient if asked to do so. Ninety-three percent would ask about S/R when discussing a life-threatening illness, and 96% when discussing death and dying. A strong personal S/R orientation was associated with beliefs that the pediatrician should discuss S/R with the patient (P <.01); beliefs that faith plays a role in healing (P <.01); and feelings that patients would like to discuss S/R with their pediatrician (P <.01), that the doctor-patient relationship would be strengthened by discussion of S/R (P <.01), and that physicians should call on an S/R leader for an illness or death (P <.01). Personal S/R orientation was not related to whether physicians reported that they discuss S/R issues with their patients (P =.08). Residents were more likely than faculty to state that it is appropriate to pray with patients if asked to do so (P <.05), and compared with pediatricians who were science majors in college, pediatricians who were nonscience majors in college felt more comfortable praying with patients if asked to do so (P <.01).


In an urban, inner-city, academic medical center, pediatric residents and faculty have an overall positive attitude toward the integration of S/R into the practice of pediatrics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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