The significance for public health of the relationship between spirituality and health, as reported by people identifying as ‘spiritual but not religious.’

PhD Thesis


Holt, N. 2022. The significance for public health of the relationship between spirituality and health, as reported by people identifying as ‘spiritual but not religious.’. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Allied and Public Health
AuthorsHolt, N.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy
Abstract

Aim: How do self-identified healthy people who also identify as Spiritual but Not Religious report the relationship between spirituality and different dimensions of their health? Objectives: 1) To ascertain the participants’ self-perception as to whether they were healthy or not; 2) To explore the definition of spirituality from the participants’ perspective; 3) To explore the spiritual practices of the participants; 4) To explore the reported relationship between the participants` spiritual beliefs and their health; 5) To explore whether demographic factors (specifically gender, age, education, income, ethnicity and place of birth) can impact spirituality and the participants’ health. Methods: This exploratory study uses a pragmatic mixed-methods approach, including an online questionnaire (n=917) and follow-up interviews (n=24). Results: Participants perceived spirituality to have positive effects on their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health but that the impact on their social and societal health was varied (but overall, still positive). The described benefits were: increased motivation and engagement with physical activity, improved diet, better quality sleep and greater peace of mind. The perceived undesirable effects were reported to be increased stress, rumination, and a decreased desire to engage with others. Themes derived from the results of this study led to the development of a Spiritual Health Effects Map (SHEM), which could potentially be used to complement Public Health practice in the UK. This map identifies six themes of spirituality: connection, self, beliefs, values, deeper awareness, and experiences, and outlines how these themes can relate to different aspects of health. Conclusion: The findings indicate that the reported impact of spirituality on health can be significant for people. This research helps raise awareness of how some people’s spiritual beliefs affect their health and has fundamental implications for future research and practice within Public Health.

KeywordsSpirituality; Public health; Mixed methods; SBNR; SHEM; United Kingdom
Year2022
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Deposited22 Aug 2022
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/92127/the-significance-for-public-health-of-the-relationship-between-spirituality-and-health-as-reported-by-people-identifying-as-spiritual-but-not-religious

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