Date of Award

Summer 1990

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Stollenwerk, Ruth M.

Second Advisor

Shaw, Christine R.

Third Advisor

Theis, Charlotte


The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify the level and characteristics of spiritual well-being in a rural elderly population by using two spiritual well-being instruments. A convenience sample of 114 adults, 65 years and older, were obtained from three settings in a rural, Northcentral, farming state. After an appropriate consent form was signed for protection of human rights, the subjects completed the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (Paloutzian and Ellison, 1982) and the Jarel Spiritual Well-Being Scale (Hungelmann et a., 1988) along with a demographic sheet. Data analysis to describe the demographics of the sample was obtained by percentages and revealed the majority of the sample to be female, married, living in their own homes, and economically comfortable. The level of spiritual well-being for the group was described by using the means, standard deviations, and range of scores for both instruments. The results suggest a high level of spiritual well-being with means in the upper one-third for both instruments. The characteristics of spiritual well-being were described by analysis of means, standard deviations, and ranges of the scores of the two subscales of the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (Paloutzian and Ellison, 1982) and the three Factors of the Jarel Spiritual Well-Being Scale (Hungelmann et al., 1988). The religious well-being subscale and the Faith/Belief Dimension factor of the two 1 scales had higher means than the existential well-being subscale and two factors concerned with life/self satisfaction. This was found to be significant at p = .000. A positive correlation between spiritual well-being and perceived health was found at a significant level of p = .003, with r = .2727. No relationship was found between spiritual well-being and age, gender, marital status, and residence. The results of this study suggest a high level of spiritual well-being in the rural elderly with a positive relationship to the religious dimension and perceived health. These results suggest assessment of the spiritual dimension by nurses for total care of the patient.



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