Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Spirituality among People with Disabilities: A Nationally Representative Study of Spiritual and Religious Profiles

This study examined the relationship between eight dimensions of spirituality (and religion) and people with four different types of disability status: hearing, vision, physical mobility, and emotional or mental disabilities. The overarching aim was to identify specific spiritual-religious profiles within each disability population relative to the general population. To conduct this cross-sectional examination, the authors used nationally representative data from the General Social Survey in the United States. The results reveal unique spiritual and religious profiles across the four types of disability status examined, although people with emotional or mental disabilities may have the most distinct profile. Compared with their counterparts among the general public, people with hearing, physical, and emotional disabilities were more likely to report praying several times a day; people with all four types of disability were more likely to report having a turning point when they became less committed to religion. Understanding which spiritual and religious dimensions are disproportionately more likely to exist among a given population with a particular disability helps practitioners provide more effective services to members of that group.