Definitions of Sprituality

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Finding a universal definition of spirituality is challenging and problematic. According to Maher and Hunt (1993): “ (p.22)”. Nevertheless, the challenges associated with defining spirituality have not prevented an explosion in the development of (supposedly) spirituality measures. Hill and Hood (1999) carried out an extensive review of spirituality measures and found more than 120 definitions of spirituality. Yet, how these researchers define spirituality is a question that still needs to be answered.

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Considering the second principle, Stifoss-Hansen (1999) provided a different definition of spirituality to that of Pargament. Stifoss-Hansen (1999) proposes that spirituality includesdifferent characteristics that are not in line with Pargament’s definition of spirituality. These characteristics include connectedness, authenticity, existentialism, meaning if life, holism and self and community, which are considered as aspects of an individual’s spirituality indicating that spirituality must be considered a broader, not a narrower, concept to religion. According to Stifoss-Hansen, “ (p.28)”. Operationalizing this definition, it seems broader than that provided by Pargament and goes beyond the possibly narrow limitations of traditional religion.

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This definition of spirituality agrees with the three principles highlighted by Spilka (1993) and are in line -in part- with the other definitions; however it is more comprehensive. This definition is also in line with the spiritual well-being framework identified by Fisher (1998) which states that spiritual well-being is not limited to only religious or spiritual behaviours (e.g. belief in God, reading the Bible, church attendance, or praying) and experiences, but extends to the affirmation of life in relationships with oneself (personal), others (communal), nature (environment), and God (transcendental others).

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