Speaking of what matters most. The spirituality and the spiritual needs of Dutch children with a chronic condition.
AIM: This thesis aims to clarify the ‘what’ of spirituality and spiritual needs of Dutch children with a chronic condition as well as the ‘how’ of researching, communicating, and supporting this spiritual dimension in children.
METHOD: The design of the study includes both quantitative and qualitative methods including two literature reviews, a qualitative study exploring the vocabulary that children with chronic conditions use to address their spirituality and spiritual needs. A mixed method study was done to select, translate and validate measurement instruments to assess spirituality and spiritual sensitivity. To distribute this knowledge, an educational program (called SPEAK) was developed to support the spirituality of children in primary school.
FINDINGS: This study shows that Dutch children with a chronic condition are very capable of expressing their spirituality and it identifies aspects which imply spiritual needs. A conceptual model (called MICS) was designed to clarify the possible correlations between results found in the various studies.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Although this study does not prove statistically that children with a chronic condition have spiritual needs, it offers sufficient evidence to inform and guide the support of the spiritual development of (Dutch) children.
Keywords: children, chronic conditions, spirituality, spiritual needs, mixed method.