Social Indicators Research

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 153–188 | Cite as

A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between Spirituality and Quality of Life

  • Rick SawatzkyEmail author
  • Pamela A. Ratner
  • Lyren Chiu


The relationship between spirituality and various dimensions of health and quality of life has been extensively examined during the past decade. Though several literature reviews have been conducted in an attempt to synthesize research findings pertaining to the relationship between spirituality and health, a meta-analysis of studies examining spirituality in relation to quality of life has not been identified. The present study was designed to: (a) determine whether there is empirical support for a relationship between spirituality and quality of life, (b) provide an estimate of the strength of this relationship, and (c) examine potential moderating variables affecting this relationship. The research design followed accepted methods for quantitative meta-synthesis. Potential moderating effects of several methodological differences and sample characteristics were examined using meta-analytic approaches with multivariate linear regression and analysis of variance. An extensive multidisciplinary literature search resulted in 3,040 published reports that were manually screened according to pre-established selection criteria. Subsequent to the selection process, 62 primary effect sizes from 51 studies were included in the final analysis. A random effects model of the bivariate correlation between spirituality and quality of life resulted in a moderate effect size (r = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.28–0.40), thereby providing support for the theoretical framework underlying the study wherein spirituality was depicted as a unique concept that stands in relationship to quality of life. Subsequent regression analyses indicated that differences among operational definitions of spirituality and quality of life were associated with the variability in estimates of the magnitude of the relationship (R2 = 0.27). Other potential moderators, such as age, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation and sampling method were examined but the findings pertaining to these variables were inconclusive because of limitations associated with the sample of primary studies. The implications of this study are mostly theoretical in nature and raise questions about the commonly assumed multidimensional conceptualization of quality of life.


meta-analysis quality of life spirituality 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NursingTrinity Western UniversityLangleyCanada
  2. 2.School of NursingUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada

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