Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Development and validation of a measure of spiritual fortitude

OBJECTIVE: In this article, we develop and validate a measure of spiritual fortitude (SF). SF is defined as a character trait enabling people to endure and make redemptive meaning from adversity through their sacred connections with God, others, and themselves. METHOD: First, we summarize its conceptual distinctions from related constructs such as grit, hardiness, and resilience. Then, in three independent studies (N = 1,104), we provide evidence for a three-factor SF Scale (SFS-9), consisting of subscales labeled Spiritual Endurance, Spiritual Enterprise, and Redemptive Purpose. RESULTS: In Study 1 (N = 410), an exploratory factor analysis revealed three SFS-9 subscales, each of which demonstrated evidence of internal consistency. Study 2 (N = 393) confirmed this factor structure on a separate sample and provided additional evidence for internal consistency. In Study 3 (N = 301), we present evidence of its discriminant, convergent, and incremental validity. SFS-9 scores predicted variance in meaning in life, spiritual well-being, religious coping, and adversity-related anxiety, above and beyond the contribution of grit and resilience. CONCLUSIONS: Spiritual fortitude appears to be a useful construct in understanding the process of adjusting to, and thriving, in the midst of adversity, suffering, and trauma. Future hypotheses and research directions are provided to catalyze work in this new area of inquiry. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).