|Spirituality in Well and Ill Adolescents and Their Parents:
The Use of Two Assessment Scales
The literature supporting a relationship between religion/spirituality and physical/mental health has led to
recommendations that health professionals attend to these issues in patient assessment and intervention.
Many studies indicate that spiritual issues are important to adolescents, especially those with physical
and/or psychological health concerns. Although several instruments have been developed to measure religion/spirituality in adults, no validated instrument currently exists for assessing this concept in children or
adolescents. The applicability of two adult scales, the SIBS and the SWBS, were assessed to explore the
spiritual well-being of adolescents by comparing spirituality scores of 38 chronically ill and 38 healthy adolescents
and their parents. No significant difference was found between ill and well adolescents on either
scale. Parents scored significantly higher than adolescents on both scales. Although this could indicate that
parents have greater spiritual well-being than their children, these two findings taken together suggest these
measures may be insufficiently sensitive measures of spirituality in childhood. This is supported by the finding
that most adolescents and their parents felt both scales to be ineffective measures of adolescent spirituality.
The authors concluded that a more specific scale should be developed for measuring spirituality in
the young, especially those with chronic illness. Such an instrument might best be developed through a
combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods.