Article Navigation Spiritual Assessment and Native Americans: Establishing the Social Validity of a Complementary Set of Assessment Tools


social validity, assessment tools, social work, native americans


Although social work practitioners are increasingly likely to administer spiritual assessments with Native American clients, few qualitative assessment instruments have been validated with this population. This mixed-method study validates a complementary set of spiritual assessment instruments. Drawing on the social validity literature, a sample of experts in Native culture (N = 50) evaluated the instruments' cultural consistency, strengths, limitations, and areas needing improvement. Regarding the degree of congruence with Native American culture, verbally based spiritual histories ranked highest and diagrammatically oriented spiritual genograms ranked lowest, although all instruments demonstrated at least moderate levels of consistency with Native culture. The results also suggest that practitioners' level of spiritual competence plays a crucial role in ensuring the instruments are operationalized in a culturally appropriate manner.

Original Publication Citation

Hodge, D., & Limb, G. (2011). Spiritual assessment and Native Americans: Establishing the social validity of a complementary set of assessment tools. Social Work, 56(3), 213-223.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Social Work




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor