, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 47-60

Assessing and Measuring Spirituality: Confronting Dilemmas of Universal and Particular Evaluative Criteria

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Abstract

The spirituality of humanity is increasingly acknowledged, but it is variously defined and interpreted because of the diverse normative frames of reference for evaluations. Many of these are based upon religious and philosophical ideologies that disagree with each other about the characteristics of spiritual health and illness. Indicators of spiritual wellness acceptable in some groups often are inappropriate for groups with different values. An inescapable reductionism complicates all spirituality measurements. Scales intended to be universally valid have many deficiencies. They override distinctive norms of minority groups and contribute to their mistreatment and victimization. Using only universal measures contributes to the loss of verifiable knowledge. Suggestions to resolve such problems combine particularistic and universal strategies for clinical assessments and scientific research.