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01.12.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 6/2014

Journal of Religion and Health 6/2014

Religiosity/Spirituality of German Doctors in Private Practice and Likelihood of Addressing R/S Issues with Patients

Journal of Religion and Health > Ausgabe 6/2014
Edgar Voltmer, Arndt Büssing, Harold G. Koenig, Faten Al Zaben


This study examined the self-assessed religiosity and spirituality (R/S) of a representative sample of German physicians in private practice (n = 414) and how this related to their addressing R/S issues with patients. The majority of physicians (49.3 %) reported a Protestant denomination, with the remainder indicating mainly either Catholic (12.5 %) or none (31.9 %). A significant proportion perceived themselves as either religious (42.8 %) or spiritual (29.0 %). Women were more likely to rate themselves R/S than did men. Women (compared to men) were also somewhat more likely to attend religious services (7.4 vs. 2.1 % at least once a week) and participate in private religious activities (14.9 vs. 13.7 % at least daily), although these differences were not statistically significant. The majority of physicians (67.2 %) never/seldom addressed R/S issues with a typical patient. Physicians with higher self-perceived R/S and more frequent public and private religious activity were much more likely to address R/S issues with patients. Implications for patient care and future research are discussed.

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