Utilizing Brief Spiritual Assessments with Clients who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Balancing Cultural Competence

Main Article Content

Gordon Limb
David Hodge
Richard Alboroto


spirituality, religion, Church of Jesus Christ, spiritual assessment, cultural competence


 In recent years social work has increasingly focused on spirituality and religion as key elements of cultural competency.  The Joint Commission—the nation's largest health care accrediting organization—as well as many other accrediting bodies require spiritual assessments in hospitals and many other mental health settings. Consequently, specific intervention strategies have been fostered in order to provide the most appropriate interventions for religious clients. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the fourth largest and one of the faster growing churches in the United States.  In an effort to facilitate cultural competence with clients who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, a brief spiritual assessment instrument was developed.  This mixed-method study asked experts in Church culture (N = 100) to identify the degree of cultural consistency, strengths, and limitations of the brief spiritual assessment instrument. Results indicate that the framework is consistent with Church culture and a number of practice-oriented implications are offered.

Abstract 180 |


Albrecht, S. L., & Heaton, T. B. (1998). Secularization, higher education, and religiosity. In J. T. Duke (Ed.), Latter-day Saint social life: Social research on the LDS Church and its members (pp. 293–314). Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University.
Babbie, E. R. (2016). The practice of social research (14th ed.). Cengage.
Barlow, S. H., & Bergin, A. E. (1998). Religion and mental health from the Mormon perspective. In H. G. Koenig (Ed.), Handbook of religion and mental health (pp. 225–243). Academic Press.
Beck, S. H., Cole, B. S., & Hammond, J. A. (1991). Religious heritage and premarital sex: Evidence from a national sample of young adults. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 30, 173–180. http://doi.org/10.2307/1387211
Canda, E. R., & Furman, L. D. (2010). Spiritual diversity in social work practice: The heart of helping (2nd ed). Oxford University Press.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (2019). Style guide–the name of the church. https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/style-guide
Council on Social Work Education. (2015). Educational policy and accreditation standards. https://www.cswe.org/getattachment/Accreditation/Accreditation-Process/2015-EPAS/2015EPAS_Web_FINAL.pdf.aspx
Denscombe, M. (2006). Web-based questionnaires and mode effect: An evaluation based on completion rates and data contents of near-identical questionnaires delivered in different modes. Social Science Computer Review, 24, 246–254. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439305284522
Dunn, A. B., & Dawes, S. J. (1999). Spirituality-focused genograms: Keys to uncovering spiritual resources in African American families. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 27, 240–255. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1912.1999.tb00338.x
Gehlert, S., & Browne, T. (2019). Handbook of health social work (3rd ed.). Wiley.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Aldine de Gruyter.
Hall, G. C. N., Ibaraki, A. Y., Huang, E. R., Marti, C. N., & Stice, E. (2016). A meta-analysis of cultural adaptations of psychological interventions. Behavior Therapy, 47, 993–1014. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2016.09.005
Hart, C. H., Newell, L. D., Walton, E., & Dollahite, D. C. (Eds.). (2005). Helping and healing our families: Principles and practices inspired by “The family: A proclamation to the world.” Deseret Book Co.
Haynes, D. T. (2001). Mormonism. In M. Van Hook, B. Hugen, & M. Aguilar (Eds.), Spirituality within religious traditions in social work practice (pp. 251–272). Brooks/Cole.
Heaton, T. B., Goodman, K. L., & Holman, T. B. (1994). In search of a peculiar people: Are Mormon families really different? In M. Cornwall, T. B. Heaton, & L. A. Young (Eds.), Contemporary Mormonism: Social science perspectives (pp. 87–117). University of Illinois Press.
Heyman, J., Buchanan, R., Musgrave, B., & Menz, V. (2006). Social workers’ attention to clients’ spirituality: Use of spiritual interventions in practice. Arete, 30, 78–89.
Hemeyer, J. C. (2006). Religion in America (5th ed.). Pearson Education.
Hodge, D. R. (2015). Spiritual assessment in social work and mental health practice. Columbia University Press.
Hodge, D. R., & Limb, G. (2014). Spiritual assessment and Latter-day Saints: Establishing the preliminary validity of spiritual eco-maps. Journal of Social Service Research, 40(3), 367-380.
Hodge, D. R. (2004). Why conduct a spiritual assessment? A theoretical rationale for assessment. Advances in Social Work, 5(2), 183-196.
Hunter, E. V. (2013). What positive psychologists and Mormons can learn from each other. Master of Applied Positive Psychology Capstone. https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1076&context=mapp_capstone
Joint Commission. (2012). Hospital accreditation standards 2012. : Author.
Joint Commission. (2019). Rights and responsibilities of the individual (RI;Critical access hospitals). Standard–frequently asked question details. https://www.jointcommission.org/mobile/standards_information/jcfaqdetails.aspx?StandardsFAQId=1492&StandardsFAQChapterId=31&ProgramId=0&ChapterId=0&IsFeatured=False&IsNew=False&Keyword=
Kahn, I. J. (2019). Spirituality and religion-relevance and assessment in the clinical setting. Current Psychiatry Research and Reviews, 15(2), 80–87. https://doi.org/10.2174/1573400515666190404143104
Kaplowitz, M. D., Hadlock, T. D., & Levine, R. (2004). A comparison of web and mail survey response rates. Public Opinion Quarterly, 68(1), 94–101. https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfh006
Koenig, H. G. (2013). Spirituality in patient care: Why, how, when, and what (3rd ed.). Templeton Press.
Limb, G., Hodge, D. R., Ward, P., Alboroto, R., & Larkin, Z. (2018). Examination of a complementary set of spiritual assessment tools for LDS clients. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, 21(9-10), 960-972. DOI: 10.1080/13674676.2018.1512089
Lindner, E. W. (Ed.). (2012). Yearbook of American and Canadian churches. Abingdon Press.
Ludlow, D. H. (1992). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Macmillan.
National Association of Social Workers. (2017, Revision). NASW Code of Ethics. https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English
Oxhandler, H. K., Parrish, D. E., Torres, L. R., & Achenbaum, W. A. (2015). The integration of clients’ religion and spirituality in social work practice: A national survey. Social Work, 60(3), 228–237. https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swv018
Pargament, K., & Krumrei, E. J. (2009). Clinical assessment of clients’ spirituality. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Pew Research Center. (2015, May). Mormons more likely to marry, have more children than other U.S. religious groups. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/22/mormons-more-likely-to-marry-have-more-children-than-other-u-s-religious-groups/
Pew Research Center. (2017, April). In America, does more education equal less religion? https://www.pewforum.org/2017/04/26/in-america-does-more-education-equal-less-religionSheridan, M. (2009). Ethical issues in the use of spiritually based interventions in social work practice: What are we doing and why? Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, (28(1/2), 99-126. https://doi.org/10.1080/15426430802643687
Stewart, C., Koeske, G. F., & Koeske, R. D. (2006). Personal religiosity and spirituality associated with social work practitioners’ use of religious-based intervention practices. Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, 25(1), 69-85. https://doi.org/10.1300/J377v25n01_05
Thompson, E. A. (2000). Mothers' experiences of an adult child's HIV/AIDS diagnosis: Maternal responses to and resolutions of accountability for AIDS. Family Relations, 49(2), 155-164.
Tompkins, C. J., Larkin, H., & Rosen, A. L. (2006). An analysis of social work textbooks for aging content: How well do social work foundation texts prepare students for our aging society? Journal of Social Work Education, 42, 3-23.
Walton, E., Limb, G., & Hodge, D. (2011). Developing cultural competence with Latter-day Saint clients: A strengths-based perspective. Families in Society, 92(1), 50-54.
Williams, M., & Smolak, A. (2007). Integrating faith matters in social work education. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work, 26(3), 25–44. DOI: 10.1300/J377v26n03_02