Spiritual Support Staff Influence Stress Among Hospital-Based Health Care Personnel: A Cross-Sectional Study.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Western journal of nursing research


washington; renton; alaska; pamc; santa monica; california; lubbock; texas; covid-19


BACKGROUND: Stress negatively affects well-being, relating to poor physical, emotional, and occupational outcomes for health care personnel. Health care professionals faced extreme stressors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, making occupational stress relief a top priority for hospital administrators. Many health systems employ specially trained spiritual support staff as one strategy to alleviate work-related stressors. It is unclear whether health care personnels' perceptions of the availability of spiritual care staff influence self-reported stress.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between perceived stress and perceptions of availability of spiritual support among acute care health care personnel.

METHODS: This study analyzed cross-sectional, survey-based data collected between February and April 2022 from 1352 interdisciplinary health care staff working in a large, nonprofit Catholic health system in the Western United States. Bivariate tests and multivariate linear regression models were conducted to test for factors influencing perceived stress.

RESULTS: Results support that high stress was prevalent in the sample. Perceived availability of spiritual support staff in the hospital and seeking coworker and professional support for work-related stress all independently influence stress in this population when controlling for confounders.

CONCLUSIONS: Stress of health care personnel may be influenced by the perceived availability of specially trained spiritual support staff. Hospital administrators should advocate for spiritual support staff availability in all health care settings as one strategy to mitigate occupational stress that health care professionals may experience through providing high-stakes patient care. Further research is warranted to uncover targeted spirituality-related strategies to reduce stress and preserve well-being of health care personnel.

Clinical Institute

Mental Health


Behavioral Health


Pastoral Care