Religiosity/spirituality of German doctors in private practice and likelihood of addressing R/S issues with patients

J Relig Health. 2014 Dec;53(6):1741-52. doi: 10.1007/s10943-013-9776-0.


This study examined the self-assessed religiosity and spirituality (R/S) of a representative sample of German physicians in private practice (n = 414) and how this related to their addressing R/S issues with patients. The majority of physicians (49.3 %)reported a Protestant denomination, with the remainder indicating mainly either Catholic(12.5 %) or none (31.9 %). A significant proportion perceived themselves as either religious(42.8 %) or spiritual (29.0 %). Women were more likely to rate themselves R/S than did men. Women (compared to men) were also somewhat more likely to attend religious services (7.4 vs. 2.1 % at least once a week) and participate in private religious activities(14.9 vs. 13.7 % at least daily), although these differences were not statistically significant.The majority of physicians (67.2 %) never/seldom addressed R/S issues with a typical patient. Physicians with higher self-perceived R/S and more frequent public and private religious activity were much more likely to address R/S issues with patients. Implications for patient care and future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catholicism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Private Practice*
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Spirituality