Assessment of Integration of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work Field Education Among Students and Field Instructors

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In recent years, there has been an increase in the interest to integrate spiritual and religious perspectives into social work practice. Understanding religion and spirituality in practice is developed through and supported by exposure in social work education programs and field education. As more social work programs integrate religion and spirituality into practice, a reliable instrument to measure student perceptions and attitudes about its integration into practice is needed. The purpose of this study was to determine if the Religious and Spirituality Integrated Practice Assessment Scale (RSIPAS) was a reliable instrument for use with social work field students. This study also explored the extent to which educational courses and training have been provided to those affiliated with social work programs. Furthermore, the study compared the views of self-efficacy, attitudes, perceived feasibility, and behaviors with integration into practice between social work field instructors and field students and again between MSW and BSW field students. The research was collected utilizing a correlational research design using a quantitative cross-sectional survey. Participants included students in their field placements at accredited social work programs and field instructors affiliated with those programs. The study found that the RSIPAS was a reliable instrument to assess student familiarity with and views about integrating religious and spiritual needs into practice. The study also revealed significant correlations between education and the impact on the agreement to items in the instrument. Lastly, there were statistically significant differences between the responses of social work field students and social work field instructors regarding their views around self-efficacy and between MSW and BSW students regarding the frequency of engaging in practice behaviors. The results of this study support opportunities to increase course content around religion and spirituality and that those who receive education around the content can better integrate religion and spirituality into social work practice.

religion, spirituality, social work, field education, RSIPAS