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J Fam Pract. 1994 Dec;39(6):564-8.

Patient attitudes regarding physician inquiry into spiritual and religious issues.

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66160.



Most physicians do not address spiritual and religious issues with patients, although there are data documenting the relationship between religious variables and disease, health, and well-being. The purpose of this study was twofold: to examine patient attitudes regarding physician-directed inquiry about issues related to spiritual matters and faith; and to identify screening variables that would identify patients who would be receptive to such a discussion.


A Spiritual and Religious Inquiry (SRI) questionnaire was administered to patients presenting for care in a family practice center.


Patients' frequency of religious service attendance (at least monthly) predicted their acceptance of physician inquiry into their religion and personal faith (P < .01) and acceptance of physician referral to pastoral professionals for spiritual problems (P < .01).


This study supports the use of frequency of religious service attendance as a screening variable for patients receptive to physician-directed inquiry into religious and spiritual issues. It also confirms that patients are accepting of physicians' referring patients to pastoral professionals (ie, clergy) for spiritual problems.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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