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Exploring the Meaning of Spirituality and Spiritual Care in Chinese Contexts: A Scoping Review

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Abstract

Spirituality is recognised as a fundamental aspect of health and nursing care. Yet, there are few studies exploring how this concept may be understood outside of Western culture. This scoping review seeks to address this omission by focusing specifically on research conducted with Chinese populations. This is important because people from Chinese backgrounds (PBC) are now residing all over the world, and their spirituality and spiritual needs should be considered when providing healthcare. Adopting a purely generalist understanding and application of spirituality may not capture the cultural difference that exists between the East and West. This scoping review adopted Arksey and O’Malley’s method to focus on spirituality and spiritual care among PBC in health and nursing. The systematic strategy was adopted and used to search the main databases in health and nursing. Eighteen (n = 18) empirical studies were included in the review: 11 qualitative studies and seven quantitative involving 1870 participants. The scoping review revealed that in the Chinese understanding of spirituality is an abstract and personal concept which can refer to an internal vital force, experiences of suffering, and traditional Chinese cultural and religious values. As the multidimensional understanding of spirituality and spiritual care may cause confusion, these findings may provide a direction for the researchers emphasising the need for cultural and religious sensitivity when understanding of spirituality.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Professor Ross and Professor Kevern for reading the draft carefully and for confirming that the review was conducted appropriately.

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This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Yanping Niu.

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No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.

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This study does not need to comply with ethical standard since it is a scoping review of existing studies to integrate and interpret the extracted findings.

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Niu, Y., McSherry, W. & Partridge, M. Exploring the Meaning of Spirituality and Spiritual Care in Chinese Contexts: A Scoping Review. J Relig Health 61, 2643–2662 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01199-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01199-5

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