Conceptualizing spirituality in social work: How the metaphysical beliefs of social workers may foster bias toward theistic consumers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

In spite of the growing interest in spirituality, little attention has been paid to how social workers’ metaphysical worldviews affect their conceptualization and subsequent operationalization of spirituality. This paper explores how the largely nontheistic worldviews of social workers inform their definitions of spirituality, which in turn fosters a systemic bias against the spirituality of consumers who hold theistic belief systems. Examples of how current definitions conflict with a theistic worldview are provided, and it is suggested that the operationalization of existing conceptualizations would yield biased measures that would preassign theistic consumers a lower level of spirituality. Suggestions for addressing the problem conclude the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-61
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Thought
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Measurement
  • Spiritual sensitivity
  • Spirituality
  • Values
  • Worldviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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