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Identity and Spiritual Care

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Abstract This article is an empirical study of the attitudes of spiritual caregivers in health care institutions in the Netherlands towards identity and the goals of their profession. Identity can be classified into a personal aspect (definition of oneself in general) and a worldview aspect (attitudes towards life). A distinction is made between an immediate professional goal (communication on worldviews) and an ultimate goal (contribution to spiritual health). We examine the effects of beliefs about identity on professional goals while controlling for relevant population and institutional characteristics. Orientation to the immediate and ultimate goals of spiritual care is influenced mainly by personal identity attitudes and attitudes towards suffering. The relation between identity and its relevance to patients’ health (the ultimate goal of spiritual care) needs further research.

Affiliations: 1: Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre the Netherlands w.smeets@dgvp.umcn.nl

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