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The role of religion and spirituality has not always been included in conversations about social work education and practice, but there has been an increased interest in the topics as evidenced by the attention given to religion and spirituality in the professional literature. Although there have been multiple studies focused on students at the masters’ level as well as with practitioners and a few with faculty there were even less with social work students at the undergraduate level.

Using a cross-sectional survey design, a national stratified random sample of social work programs were asked to invite senior BSW students to respond to an online questionnaire about their perceptions and experiences of religion and spirituality in social work education and practice. The final sample consisted of 412 seniors enrolled in 56 accredited social work programs from across the United States.

Student perceptions about the role of religion and spirituality in social work education and practice were explored with specific attention to differences between students attending public and church-related schools. Students’ experiences with religion and spirituality in their education as well as their personal religious and/or spiritual beliefs and practices were investigated. Views about the appropriateness and use of specific spiritually-derived interventions were explored. Student attitudes toward the role of religion and spirituality in social work practice were generally positive, however there were significant differences between students on several items (e.g. levels of preparation, satisfaction, content, and personal beliefs).

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