First Advisor

Daniel Coleman

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work and Social Research




Social work education, Social service -- Religious aspects, Spirituality



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 118 p.) : ill.


In a diverse society, social work practitioners must be able to work with and respect people from a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities and with different value systems and ideological perspectives, including spiritual or religious beliefs. Accordingly, social work education has begun to incorporate the topic of spirituality. This study builds upon previous studies by Dudley and Helfgott (1990) and Sheridan et al. (1994) which focused on views of faculty members regarding spirituality in social work education and support for a course on spirituality in the social work curriculum. This study goes on to examine inclusion of spirituality in general social work courses. The study involved a survey of social work faculty members who teach courses in direct practice, human development, and diversity, with a response rate of 52% (N = 222). The 40-item web survey replicated items regarding faculty views about spirituality and social work, and measures of personal experience with spirituality from Sheridan's (1994) survey. Items regarding faculty and student inclusion of spirituality, classroom management strategies, and discussion outcomes were original to this study.Results showed that in addition to 9 faculty who teach courses in spirituality, 75.1% of faculty members surveyed report a moderate or substantial discussion of spirituality in half of the courses they teach. Multiple regression analyses showed an association of faculty inclusion of spirituality to student inclusion and constructive discussions of spirituality, the school offering a separate course on spirituality, female gender, and full time status (p < .001). Faculty-reported student inclusion of spirituality was associated with faculty inclusion, conflictual discussions, constructive discussions, and use of classroom rules (p < .001). Constructive discussions of spirituality were associated with use of modeling and facilitation, faculty inclusion, and student inclusion of spirituality (p < .001). Several path models were compared using AMOS software. Results suggest that when faculty members include spirituality, students are more likely to discuss the topic. Faculty members report frequently including the topic of spirituality in the content of general social work courses. Classroom rules are related to increased student participation, and modeling and facilitation promote constructive discussion of spirituality.


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Portland State University. Social Work and Social Research Ph. D. Program

Persistent Identifier