Retaining the meaning of the words religiousness and spirituality: a commentary on the WHOQOL SRPB group's "a cross-cultural study of spirituality, religion, and personal beliefs as components of quality of life" (62: 6, 2005, 1486-1497).
Recent years have seen increasing recognition paid to the relation of religiousness/spirituality (R/S) to health care and research. This has led to the development of more inclusive and trans-culturally validated measurements of R/S. This paper comments on the WHOQOL SRPB Group's "A cross-cultural study of spirituality, religion, and personal beliefs as components of quality of life" (62: 6, 2005, 1486-1497), a recently published paper in Social Science & Medicine, and illustrates a possible problem in the measurement of R/S, especially as related to the study of mental health outcomes. Some scales have included questions about psychological well-being, satisfaction, connectedness with others, hopefulness, meaning and purpose in life, or altruistic values as part of their measure of R/S. These questions are really tapping indicators of mental health, and should not be included in the definition of R/S itself. Otherwise, tautology is the result, and it should not be surprising that such measures of R/S (defined by questions tapping mental health) are related to mental health outcomes.
Moreira-Almeida, A; Koenig, HG
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