Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine 2018. 11(0):.

Explanatory definition of the concept of spiritual health: a qualitative study in Iran
Ahmad Ghaderi, Seyed Mahmoud Tabatabaei, Saharnaz Nedjat, Mohsen Javadi, Bagher Larijani


Scientists and researchers have examined spiritual health from different angles and proposed various definitions, but a comprehensive definition does not exist for the term as of now. The present study aimed to offer the definition, components and indicators of spiritual health from experts’ perspective.

This qualitative study utilized conventional content analysis and individual in-depth interviews with 22 experts in the area of spiritual health in various fields selected through purposeful sampling. Member check, credibility, reliability, transferability and allocation of adequate time for data collection were measured to increase the validity and reliability of the results. Conventional content analysis was performed in three main phases: preparation, organization and reporting, and the categories, subcategories and codes emerged accordingly.

Participants defined spiritual health in three dimensions: religious, individualistic, and material world-oriented. The study revealed four types of connection in spiritual health: human connection with God, himself, others and the nature. The majority of participants stated that spiritual health and spirituality were different, and pointed out the following characteristics for spiritual health: it affects physical, mental, and social health; it dominates other aspects of health; there are religious and existential approaches to spiritual health; it is perceptible in people’s behavior; and it can be enhanced and improved. Most experts recognized human connection with God as the most important part of the definition of spiritual health. In conclusion, the connection between humans and themselves, others and the nature was not seen as a component specific to spiritual health


Spiritual health; Spirituality; Health-care ethics

Full Text:



Hjelm JR. The Dimensions of Health: Conceptual Models. USA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2010.

Knapik GP, Martsolf DS, Draucker CB, Strickland KD. Attributes of spirituality described by survivors of sexual violence. Qualit Rep. 2010; 15(3): 644-57.

Gomez R, Fisher JW. Domains of spiritual well-being and development and validation of the spiritual wellbeing

questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differerences. 2003; 35(8): 1975-91.

Jirásek I. Religion, spirituality, and sport: from religio athletae toward spiritus athletae. Quest. 2015; 67(3):290-9.

Adib-Hajbaghery M, Faraji M. Comparison of happiness and spiritual well-being among the community dwelling elderly and those who lived in sanitariums. Int J Community Based Nurs Midwifery. 2015; 3(3):216-26.

Hilton JM, Child SL. Spirituality and the successful aging of older Latinos. Counseling and Values. 2014;59(1): 17-34.

Hematti S, Baradaran-Ghahfarokhi M, Khajooei-Fard R, Mohammadi-Bertiani Z. Spiritual well-being for

increasing life expectancy in palliative radiotherapy patients: a questionnaire- based study. J Relig Health.2015; 54(5): 1563-72.

Chiang YC, Lee HC, Chu TL, Han CY, Hsiao YC. The impact of nurses' spiritual health on their attitudes toward spiritual care, professional commitment, and caring. Nurs Outlook. 2016; 64(3): 215-24.

Craven RF, Hirnle CJ. Fundamentals of Nursing: Human Health and Function, Fundamentals of Nurse, 4th ed.USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2003.

Bortz AP, Ashkenazi T, Melnikov S. Spirituality as a predictive factor for signing an organ donor card. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2015; 47(1): 25-33.

Nolan S, Saltmarsh P, Leget C. Spiritual care in palliative care: working towards an EAPC Task Force.European Journal of Palliative Care. 2011; 18(2): 86-9.

Puchalski C, Ferrell B, Virani R, et al. Improving the quality of spiritual care as a dimension of palliative care:the report of the consensus conference. J Palliative Med. 2009; 12(10): 885-904.

Meraviglia MG. Critical analysis of spirituality and its empirical indicators: Prayer and meaning in Life. J Holistic Nurs. 1999; 17(1): 18-33.

Wu LF, Tseng HC, Liao YC. Nurse education and willingness to provide spiritual care. Nurs Educ Today.2016; 38: 36-41.

Vader JP. Spiritual health: the next frontier. Euro J Pub Health. 2006; 16(5): 457.

Dalmida SG, Holstad MM, DiIorio C, Laderman G. The meaning and use of spirituality among African American women living with HIV/AIDS. Western J Nurs Res. 2012; 34(6): 736-65.

Hsiao YC, Chien LY, Wu LY, Chiang CM, Huang SY. Spiritual health, clinical practice stress, depressive tendency and health‐promoting behaviours among nursing students. J Adv Nurs. 2010; 66(7): 1612-22.

Heidari J, Jafari H, Janbabaei G. Life quality related to spiritual health and factors affecting it in patients afflicted by digestive system metastatic cancer. Mater Sociomed. 2015; 27(5): 310-3.

Mills PJ, Redwine L,Wilson K, et al. The role of gratitude in spiritual well-being in asymptomatic heart failure

patients. Spiritual Clin Pract (Wash D C). 2015; 2(1): 5-17.

Rahnama P, Javidan AN, Saberi H, et al. Does religious coping and spirituality have a moderating role on depression and anxiety in patients with spinal cord injury? A study from Iran. Spinal Cord. 2015; 53(12): 870-4.

Mohebbifar R, Pakpour AH, Nahvijou A, Sadeghi A. Relationship between spiritual health and quality of life in patients with cancer. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015; 16(16): 7321-6.

Dalmida SG, Holstad MM, Dilorio C, Laderman G. Spiritual well-being and health-related quality of life among African-American women with HIV/AIDS. Appl Res Qual Life. 2011; 6(2): 139-57.

Charzynska E. Multidimensional approach toward spiritual coping: construction and validation of the spiritual

coping questionnaire (SCQ). J Relig Health 2015; 54(5): 1629-46.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.