Building spiritual fitness in the Army: an innovative approach to a vital aspect of human development

Am Psychol. 2011 Jan;66(1):58-64. doi: 10.1037/a0021657.


This article describes the development of the spiritual fitness component of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program. Spirituality is defined in the human sense as the journey people take to discover and realize their essential selves and higher order aspirations. Several theoretically and empirically based reasons are articulated for why spirituality is a necessary component of the CSF program: Human spirituality is a significant motivating force, spirituality is a vital resource for human development, and spirituality is a source of struggle that can lead to growth or decline. A conceptual model developed by Sweeney, Hannah, and Snider (2007) is used to identify several psychological structures and processes that facilitate the development of the human spirit. From this model, an educational, computer-based program has been developed to promote spiritual resilience. This program consists of three tiers: (a) building awareness of the self and the human spirit, (b) building awareness of resources to cultivate the human spirit, and (c) building awareness of the human spirit of others. Further research will be needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this innovative and potentially important program.

MeSH terms

  • Human Development*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Military Personnel / education
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Motivation
  • Psychology, Military* / methods
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Self Concept
  • Spirituality*
  • United States