Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 41–52 | Cite as

Spiritual Assessment in Genetic Counseling

  • Linda M. ReisEmail author
  • Robert Baumiller
  • William Scrivener
  • Geoffrey Yager
  • Nancy Steinberg Warren
Original Research

One hundred and twenty seven full members of the National Society of Genetic Counselors participated in this study exploring current spiritual assessment practices of genetic counselors and reactions to a spiritual assessment tool. While 60% of genetic counselors reported they had performed a spiritual assessment within the past year, fewer than 8.7% of these counselors assessed spirituality in more than half of their sessions. Counselors reporting high perceived relevance of spiritual assessment performed an assessment more frequently than those reporting a low perceived relevance. Barriers to spiritual assessment included lack of time, insufficient skills, and uncertainty regarding the role of spiritual assessment within genetic counseling. Almost two-thirds of counselors expressed that having a spiritual assessment tool would increase their ability to elicit relevant information. These data suggest a need for increased training regarding the methods for and relevance of spiritual assessment in genetic counseling. Recommendations for future directions of research are explored.


spirituality genetic counseling spiritual assessment HOPE tool religion psychosocial genetics 



We would like to thank the Bioethics Network of Ohio (BENO) for their generous grant which supported this research. We would also like to thank Gowri Anandarajah and Ellen Hight for granting permission to use the HOPE tool in our study


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda M. Reis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Robert Baumiller
    • 3
  • William Scrivener
    • 4
  • Geoffrey Yager
    • 5
  • Nancy Steinberg Warren
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Genetic Counseling Program, College of Allied Health SciencesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Division of Human GeneticsCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Biology and PhilosophyXavier UniversityCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Director of Pastoral CareCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  5. 5.College of EducationUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  6. 6.MilwaukeeUSA

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