Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 1938–1952 | Cite as

Spiritual Care Perspective of College Student-Athletes

  • Cynthia M. McKnight
  • Jennifer LivingstonEmail author
Original Paper


Spirituality in healthcare has been researched in multiple healthcare professions; however, very little research has been done in athletic training, and no studies have investigated the athletes’ perception. The purpose of our online survey study was to determine the perceptions of college student-athletes on spiritual care. Our participants included 268 collegiate student-athletes from both faith-based and non-faith-based institutions. Respondents agree that spirituality may affect treatment progress, addressing spiritual concerns of the athlete could result in a more positive outcome, and certified athletic trainers should have some basic skills and knowledge to support the spiritual needs of the athlete.


Healthcare Perceptions Spirituality Athletic training Athletics 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. (2016). ACGME program requirements for graduate medical education in family medicine. Retrieved from Accessed 18 May 2016.
  2. American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy,68(S1), S1–S48.Google Scholar
  3. Anandarajah, G., Craigie, F., Hatch, R., Kliewer, S., Marchand, L., King, D., et al. (2010). Toward competency-based curricula in patient-centered spiritual care: Recommended competencies for family medicine resident education. Academic Medicine,85(11), 1897–1904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Christakou, A., & Zervas, Y. (2007). The effectiveness of imagery on pain, edema, and range of motion in athletes with a grade II ankle sprain. Physical Therapy in Sport,8, 130–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Coyne, C. (2005). Addressing spirituality issues in patient interventions. PT: Magazine of Physical Therapy,13(7), 38–44.Google Scholar
  6. Cupal, D. D., & Brewer, B. W. (2001). Effects of relaxation and guided imagery on knee strength, reinjury anxiety, and pain following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Rehabilitation Psychology,46, 28–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Engquist, D. E., Short-DeGraff, M., Gliner, J., & Oltjenbruns, K. (1997). Occupational therapists’ beliefs and practices with regard to spirituality and therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy,51(3), 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Etzel, E. F., Watson, J. C., Visek, A. J., & Maniar, S. D. (2006). Understanding and promoting college student-athlete health: Essential issues for student affairs professionals. NASPA Journal,43(3), 518–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Giske, T., & Cone, P. (2015). Discerning the healing path-how nurses assist patients spirituality in diverse healthcare settings. Journal of Clinical Nursing,24, 2926–2935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Granquist, M., Hamson-Utley, J., Kenow, L. J., & Stiller-Ostrowski, J. (2015). Psychosocial strategies for athletic training. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.Google Scholar
  11. Hodge, D. R., & Horvath, V. E. (2011). Spiritual needs in healthcare settings: A qualitative meta-analysis synthesis of clients’ perspectives. Social Work,56(4), 306–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Holt-Lunstad, J., Steffen, P. R., Sandberg, J., & Jensen, B. (2011). Understanding the connection between spiritual well-being and physical health: An examination of ambulatory blood pressure, inflammation, blood lipids, and fasting glucose. Journal of Behavioral Medicine,24, 477–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hoyland, M., & Mayers, C. (2005). Is meeting spiritual need within the OT domain? British Journal of Occupational Therapy,68(4), 177–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kontos, A. P., Covassin, T., Elbin, R. J., & Parker, T. (2012). Depression and neurocognitive performance after concussion among male and female high school and collegiate athletes. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,93(10), 1751–1756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kunji, J. (2013, October 28). Mindful healing. NCAA News. Retrieved from Accessed 18 May 2016.
  16. Lang, S., Poon, W., Kamala, D., Ang, N., & Mordiffi, S. (2006). Patients’ experiences of spiritual care: A phenomenological approach. Singapore Nursing Journal,33(3), 42–47.Google Scholar
  17. Lewell, D. (2016). Medical schools explore spirituality. Health Progress,97(6), 26–29.Google Scholar
  18. Mainwaring, L. M., Hutchison, M., Bisschop, S. M., Comper, P., & Richards, D. W. (2010). Emotional response to sport concussion compared to ACL injury. Brain Injury,24(4), 589–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Malinauskas, R. (2010). The associations among social support, stress, and life satisfaction as perceived by injured college athletes. Social Behavior and Personality,38(6), 741–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McKnight, C. M., & Juillerat, S. (2011). Perceptions of clinical athletic trainers on the spiritual care of injured athletes. Journal of Athletic Training,46(3), 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morris, D., Stecher, J., Briggs-Peppler, K., Chittenden, C., Rubira, J., & Wismer, L. (2014). Spirituality in occupational therapy: Do we practice what we teach? Journal of Religion and Health,53(1), 27–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Narrayanasamy, A., & Owens, J. (2001). A critical incident study of nurses’ responses to the spiritual needs of their patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing,33(4), 446–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. National Athletic Trainers’ Association. (2011). Athletic training education competencies (5th ed.). Dallas, TX: National Athletic Trainers’ Association.Google Scholar
  24. Neal, T. L., Diamond, A. B., Goldman, S., Liedtka, K. D., Mathis, K., Morse, E. D., et al. (2015). Interassociation recommendations for developing a plan to recognize and refer student-athletes with psychological concerns at the secondary school level: A consensus statement. Journal of Athletic Training,50(3), 231–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ott, M. J. (2004). Mindfulness meditation: A path of transformation & healing. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services,42(7), 22–29.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Pesut, B., & Thorne, S. (2007). From private to public: Negotiating professional and personal identities in spiritual care. Journal of Advanced Nursing,58(4), 396–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Puchalski, C. M., Blatt, B., Kogan, M., & Butler, A. (2014). Spirituality and health: The development of a field. Academic Medicine,89(1), 10–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ramezani, M., Ahmadi, F., Mohammadi, E., & Kazemnejad, A. (2014). Spiritual care in nursing: A concept analysis. International Nursing Review,61, 211–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reed, P. G. (1986). Religiousness among terminally ill and healthy adults. Research in Nursing & Health,9(1), 35–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Robinson, K. A., Cheng, M. R., Hansen, P. D., & Gray, R. J. (2017). Religious and spiritual beliefs of physicians. Journal of Religion and Health,56(1), 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tapley, H., Fell, D., & Pitts, D. (2012). Exploration of spirituality in doctor of physical therapy students and graduate students in non-health disciplines. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation,19(10), 566–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Udell, L., & Chandler, C. (2000). The role of the OT in addressing the spiritual needs of clients. British Journal of Occupational Therapy,63(10), 489–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Udermann, B. E., Schutte, G. E., Reineke, D. M., Pitney, W. A., Gibson, M. H., & Murray, S. R. (2008). Spirituality in the curricula of accredited athletic training education programs. Athletic Training Education Journal,1, 21–27.Google Scholar
  34. Valovich McLeod, T. C. (2015). Addressing psychological concerns to practice whole-person health care. Journal of Athletic Training,50(3), 229–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wahot, R. S., Swift, J. K., & Whipple, J. L. (2016). The role of stigma and referral source in predicting college student-athletes’ attitudes toward psychological help-seeking. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology,10, 85–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wu, L. F., Loo, M., Tseng, H. C., Liao, H. C., & Chen, Y. M. (2015). Concordance between nurses’ concepts of their ability to provide spiritual care and the identified spiritual needs of hospitalized patients: A cross-sectional observational study. Nursing and Health Sciences,17, 426–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceAzusa Pacific UniversityAzusaUSA

Personalised recommendations