A.B. Ibraheem1, W.A. Ibraheem2 and L. Adebusoye3

  1. Jericho Specialist Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo state.
  2. Department of Ophthalmology, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso.
  3. Department of Family Medicine, General Outpatient Department, University College Hospital, Ibadan.


Background: Spirituality is an important aspect of health that is not always addressed in modern day medical practice. This is related to lack of clarity about the nature of the concept, however its role in researches and health service provision is being revisited because of the evergreen importance.

Objective: To determine the relationship between spirituality and self reported health status of adult patients attending general outpatient clinic of University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study wherein interviewer administered questionnaire was applied on randomly selected 422 eligible and consenting adult patients attending general outpatient clinic of University College Hospital between 1st November, 2010 and 31st January, 2011. Their Spirituality and Heath status were assessed using spirituality scale and self reported health questionnaire respectively.

Result: Of all the respondents, 270(64.0%) were females while 152(36.0%) were males with a ratio of 1.8:1, and mean age of 42.8±15.9. The overall mean spirituality score was 125.7 ± 12.1, the maximum obtainable score was 138. A total of 63(15.0%) respondents rated their health as excellent, 114 (27.0%) rated theirs as very good while 150 (35.5%) respondents considered theirs as good. Respondents who rated their health as good had significantly higher mean scores when compared with those who rated theirs as poor or fair (mean difference = 3.347, 95% C I = 0.552 to -6.142 p=0.019)

Conclusion: The study revealed that perceived spiritual wellbeing is positively related to the patient’s sense of general wellbeing. Therefore, there is need to give attention to patient’s spiritual wellbeing during medical encounter in the hospital.

Keywords: Spirituality, Self-reported health, Spirituality score


Dr. W. A. Ibraheem
Department of Ophthalmology,
LAUTECH Teaching Hospital,
Tel: +2348063692364
E mail:


Self-reported health (SRH) is among the most frequently assessed health perceptions in epidemiological research because a person’s appraisal of his or her general health is a powerful predictor of future morbidity and mortality.1 Fayers and Springers in 2002 reported that self-reported health status (SRHS) is a useful global measure of health status. They ascribed its advantages to its simplicity and easy administration.24Self-reported morbidity is also widely used as a part of social statistics.1,2 According to WHO, health does not just mean an absence of infirmity but refers to the social, emotional, spiritual and cultural well-being of the whole body.3 Therefore, a healthy person is not only that who is sound physically, mentally and emotionally but also well spiritually.3 Spirituality is a concept that is globally acknowledged but means different things to different people and could be explained based on different cultures.4,5 Spirituality was formerly described in the context of religiousity but recent advancement in research had come to see the difference in the two concepts.4,5 There is no consensus in the definition of spirituality. Several definitions have been proposed: spirituality is defined as a personal search for meaning and purpose in life, which may or may not be related to religion.4 It entails connection to self-chosen belief and or religious beliefs, values, and practices that give meaning or reasoning to one’s life or existence, thereby inspiring and motivating individuals to achieving optimal being. This connection brings faith, hope, peace, and empowerment and the results are joy, forgiveness of oneself and others, awareness and acceptance of hardship and mortality, a heightened sense of physical and emotional wellbeing, and the ability to transcend beyond the infirmities of existence.4 According to American Association of Family Physicians, spirituality is defined as the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life.5

The health benefits of spirituality have been widely studied. Consistently, the finding is that spirituality prevents illness and enhance coping during illness.6-8 Patrick and John in 2008 in Nigeria reported that harnessing spirituality with pharmacotherapy would significantly enhance drug compliance and better recovery of patients from illness.9 Similarly, in a local study, also in Nigeria in 2008 by Oluwole, a positive relationship was demonstrated between spirituality, marital satisfaction, self disclosure and sexual self efficacy.10 The study demonstrated that spirituality is a paramount indicator of marital satisfaction, well being and marital stability. 10

However, while there are several studies indicating that spirituality may protect against distinct diseases,6-8 study on spirituality is at the primitive stage and little is known about the relationship between spirituality and health in our environment. Hence, the need for this study to determine the spirituality of adult patients attending General Outpatient Clinic of University College Hospital, Ibadan and find out if their spirituality affects their self-rated health. It is hoped that the outcome of this study will further guide the physician on how to properly place patient’s spirituality during their encounter in the hospital.