Background: Spirituality is receiving greater attention in the medical literature, especially in the family practice journals. A widely applicable instrument to assess spirituality has been lacking, however, and this has hampered research on the relationship between spirituality and health in the clinical setting.
Methods: A new instrument, called the Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale, was designed to be widely applicable across religious traditions, to assess actions as well as beliefs to address key components not assessed in other available measures, and to be easily administered and scored. The instrument is a questionnaire containing 26 items in a modified Likert-type format. Following careful pretesting, the instrument was administered to 50 family practice patients and 33 family practice educators. The validity and reliability of the instrument were then evaluated.
Results: By several measures, instrument reliability and validity are very good, with high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = .92); strong test-retest reliability (r = .92); a clear four-factor structure; and a high correlation (r = .80) with another established measure of spirituality, the Spiritual Well-Being Scale.
Conclusions: The Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale (SIBS) appears to have good reliability and validity. Compared with other instruments that assess spirituality, the SIBS has several theoretical advantages, including broader scope, use of terms that avoid cultural-religious bias, and assessment of both beliefs and actions. More testing is underway to further assess its usefulness.