Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

One-Third of Patients Want Spiritual Discussion with Physician: African Americans Made Up Half of Sample

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

One-Third of Patients Want Spiritual Discussion with Physician: African Americans Made Up Half of Sample

Article excerpt

A third of patients are seeking spiritual as well as medical attention during routine office visits, Dr. Charles D. MacLean of the University of Vermont, Burlington, and his colleagues reported.

In a survey of 456 patients who were seen at primary care clinics in North Carolina, Florida, and Vermont, the researchers found that 33% of respondents would welcome a physician inquiry about their religious beliefs during a routine office visit. And 66% felt that physicians should be aware of their religious beliefs (J. Gen. Intern. Med. 18[1]:38-43, 2003).

In response to various medical scenarios, survey participants also indicated that their desire for a spiritual discussion with their physician would vary depending on the severity of their illness and whether they were in a hospital setting.

The 112-item questionnaire solicited information about age, race, gender, and income, as well as health status, health care utilization, functional status, and religious and spiritual issues. Responses on a 6-point scale ranged from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

Ten percent of respondents were willing to accept a trade-off in which their doctor would spend less time on medical issues and more on spiritual issues, while 12% were neutral on this question and 78% of those surveyed were opposed to focusing on spiritual matters rather than medical ones. …

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