We distinguish three levels of inquiry about a patient's or client's spiritual and religious needs and resources: spiritual screening, spiritual history taking, and spiritual assessment. Spiritual screening is designed to quickly identify patients who may be in the midst of religious struggle, for example feeling abandoned or punished by God.
A more in-depth spiritual assessment should be conducted when screening identifies a patient who may be experiencing religious struggle. Research has begun to indicate that patients who are experiencing religious struggle have greater emotional distress, poorer quality of life, poorer recovery and greater risk for mortality. From the previous page, you may download a bibliography of research about religious struggle, some conducted in our department.