Skip to content

Published DSES Studies

Many of the key studies using the scale are summarized in Underwood, L. (2011) The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale: Overview and Results, Religions 2:1, 29-50. The book, Spiritual Connection in Daily Life, Chapter 5: Research Results, Underwood, L (2013) includes  some additional studies up to that date. Over 400 published studies have included the DSES as of 2019, and the 2002 paper on the scale has been cited over 1200 times in the peer-reviewed literature.

The preprint draft of a recent paper on the scale UnderwoodVagniniDraft 2021 paper summarizes published studies that show the relationship of the DSES to: resiliency, stress buffering, less substance abuse and addictions, a greater sense of meaning and post-traumatic growth, more positive health behaviors, more prosocial attitudes, and diminished burnout and compassion fatigue. It also summarizes the studies that describe interventions that increase frequency of DSEs and time course in terms of causation, such as the results from longitudinal and smartphone studies. One reason to group all of these studies together is to inform the development of preventative and intervention resources that can be used for many different kinds of people. Although much is already available on scoring, psychometrics, versions and translations in the articles already published by Underwood, this new publication includes updated and more detailed information on usage, scoring, and versions. It is a draft preprint.

Here are a few of the studies using the DSES referred to in the recent 2021 draft publication:

Albatnuni, Mawdah, and Diana Koszycki. 2020. “Prayer and Well-Being in Muslim Canadians: Exploring the Mediating Role of Spirituality, Mindfulness, Optimism, and Social Support.” Mental Health, Religion and Culture 23 (10): 912–27.

Barton, Yakov A., and Lisa Miller. 2015. “Spirituality and Positive Psychology Go Hand in Hand: An Investigation of Multiple Empirically Derived Profiles and Related Protective Benefits.” Journal of Religion and Health.

Bovero, Andrea, Nader Alessandro Sedghi, Rossana Botto, Chiara Tosi, Valentina Ieraci, and Riccardo Torta. 2018. “Dignity in Cancer Patients with a Life Expectancy of a Few Weeks. Implementation of the Factor Structure of the Patient Dignity Inventory and Dignity Assessment for a Patient-Centered Clinical Intervention: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Palliative and Supportive Care.

Brelsford, Gina M., Stephanie Marinelli, Joseph W. Ciarrochi, and Gabriel S. Dy-Liacco. 2009. “Generativity and Spiritual Disclosure in Close Relationships.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Brelsford, Gina M., Lynn G. Underwood, and Bradley R.E. Wright. 2020. “Love in the Midst of Stressors: Exploring the Role of Daily Spiritual Experiences.” Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion.

Browning, Brandon R., Ryon C. McDermott, and Marjorie E. Scaffa. 2019. “Transcendent Characteristics as Predictors of Counselor Professional Quality of Life.” Journal of Mental Health Counseling.

Charzyńska, Edyta, Magdalena Sitko-Dominik, Ewa Wysocka, and Agata Olszanecka-Marmola. 2021. “Exploring the Roles of Daily Spiritual Experiences, Self-Efficacy, and Gender in Shopping Addiction: A Moderated Mediation Model.” Religions 12 (5): 355.

Currier, Joseph M., Jason M. Holland, and Kent D. Drescher. 2015. “Spirituality Factors in the Prediction of Outcomes of PTSD Treatment for U.S. Military Veterans.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 28 (1): 57–64.

Currier, Joseph M., Jesse Mallot, Tiffany E. Martinez, Charlotte Sandy, and Robert A. Neimeyer. 2013. “Bereavement, Religion, and Posttraumatic Growth: A Matched Control Group Investigation.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 5 (2): 69–77.

Dong, Mengchen, Song Wu, Yijie Zhu, Shenghua Jin, and Yanjun Zhang. 2017. “Secular Examination of Spirituality-Prosociality Association.” Archive for the Psychology of Religion.

Exline, Julie Juola, Ann Marie Yali, and William C. Sanderson. 2000. “Guilt, Discord, and Alienation: The Role of Religious Strain in Depression and Suicidality.” Journal of Clinical Psychology.<1481::AID-1>3.0.CO;2-A.

Frey, Rosemary, Deborah Balmer, Jackie Robinson, Julia Slark, Heather McLeod, Merryn Gott, and Michal Boyd. 2018. “‘To a Better Place’: The Role of Religious Belief for Staff in Residential Aged Care in Coping with Resident Deaths.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Frick, Eckhard, Arndt Büssing, Klaus Baumann, Wolfgang Weig, and Christoph Jacobs. 2016. “Do Self-Efficacy Expectation and Spirituality Provide a Buffer Against Stress-Associated Impairment of Health? A Comprehensive Analysis of the German Pastoral Ministry Study.” Journal of Religion and Health.

Geary, Cara, and Susan L. Rosenthal. 2011. “Sustained Impact of MBSR on Stress, Well-Being, and Daily Spiritual Experiences for 1 Year in Academic Health Care Employees.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

George, Login S., and Crystal L. Park. 2013. “Are Meaning and Purpose Distinct? An Examination of Correlates and Predictors.” Journal of Positive Psychology 8 (5): 365–75.

George, Login S., and Crystal L. Park. 2017. “Does Spirituality Confer Meaning in Life among Heart Failure Patients and Cancer Survivors?” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 9 (1): 131–36.

Goldstein, Elisha David. 2007. “Sacred Moments: Implications on Well Being and Stress.” Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Greeson, Jeffrey M., Moria J. Smoski, Edward C. Suarez, Jeffrey G. Brantley, Andrew G. Ekblad, Thomas R. Lynch, and Ruth Quillian Wolever. 2015. “Decreased Symptoms of Depression after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Potential Moderating Effects of Religiosity, Spirituality, Trait Mindfulness, Sex, and Age.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Greeson, Jeffrey M., Daniel M. Webber, Moria J. Smoski, Jeffrey G. Brantley, Andrew G. Ekblad, Edward C. Suarez, and Ruth Quillian Wolever. 2011. “Changes in Spirituality Partly Explain Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Gülerce, Hakan, and Hafza Aroosa Maraj. 2021. “Resilience and Hopelessness in Turkish Society: Exploring the Role of Spirituality in the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Economy Culture and Society, May.

Holland, Jason M., and Robert A. Neimeyer. 2005. “Reducing the Risk of Burnout in End-of-Life Care Settings: The Role of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Training.” Palliative and Supportive Care.

Howell, Kathryn H., and Laura E. Miller-Graff. 2014. “Protective Factors Associated with Resilient Functioning in Young Adulthood after Childhood Exposure to Violence.” Child Abuse and Neglect.

Hung Ho, Rainbow Tin, Cheuk Yan Sing, Ted Chun Tat Fong, Friendly So Wah Au-Yeung, Kit Ying Law, Lai Fan Lee, and Siu Man Ng. 2016. “Underlying Spirituality and Mental Health: The Role of Burnout.” Journal of Occupational Health.

Husain, Akbar, and Ruchi Singh. 2016. “Psychometrics and Standardization of the Hindi Adaptation of the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale.” Clinical and Experimental Psychology.

Idler, Ellen L., Marc A. Musick, Christopher G. Ellison, Linda K. George, Neal Krause, Marcia G. Ory, Kenneth I. Pargament, Lynda H. Powell, Lynn G. Underwood, and David R. Williams. 2003. “Measuring Multiple Dimensions of Religion and Spirituality for Health Research.” Research on Aging.

Jocson, Rosanne M., Francheska Alers-Rojas, Rosario Ceballo, and Monica Arkin. 2020. “Religion and Spirituality: Benefits for Latino Adolescents Exposed to Community Violence.” Youth and Society.

Karami, Amir, and Farhad Kahrazei. 2018. “The Role of Daily Spiritual Experiences in Hope and Posttraumatic Growth in Patients with Leukemia.” 23 Health, Spirituality and Medical Ethics. Vol. 5.

Kent, Blake Victor, James C Davidson, Ying Zhang, Kenneth I Pargament, Tyler J Vanderweele, Harold G Koenig, Lynn G Underwood, and Neal Krause. 2021. “Religion and Spirituality among American Indian, South Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latina, and White Women in the Study on Stress, Spirituality, and Health.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Vol. 60.

Kent, Blake Victor, W. Matthew Henderson, Matt Bradshaw, Christopher G Ellison, and Bradley R.E. Wright. 2020. “Do Daily Spiritual Experiences Moderate the Effect of Stressors on Psychological Well-Being? A Smartphone-Based Experience Sampling Study of Depressive Symptoms and Flourishing.” The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.

Kerksieck, Philipp, Arndt Büssing, Eckhard Frick, Christoph Jacobs, and Klaus Baumann. 2017. “Reduced Sense of Coherence Due to Neuroticism: Are Transcendent Beliefs Protective Among Catholic Pastoral Workers?” Journal of Religion and Health 56 (6): 1956–70.

Khursheed, Masrat, and Mohammad Ghazi Shahnawaz. 2020. “Trauma and Post-Traumatic Growth: Spirituality and Self-Compassion as Mediators Among Parents Who Lost Their Young Children in a Protracted Conflict.” Journal of Religion and Health 59 (5): 2623–37.

Kimura, Miako, Acácia Lima de Oliveira, Lina Sayuri Mishima, and Lynn G. Underwood. 2012. “Cultural Adaptation and Validation of the Underwood’s Daily Spiritual Experience Scale – Brazilian Version.” Revista Da Escola de Enfermagem.

Knabb, Joshua J., and Veola E. Vazquez. 2018. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of a 2-Week Internet-Based Contemplative Prayer Program for Christians with Daily Stress.” Spirituality in Clinical Practice 5 (1): 37–53.

Koenig, Harold G., Michelle J. Pearce, Bruce Nelson, and Alaattin Erkanli. 2016. “Effects on Daily Spiritual Experiences of Religious Versus Conventional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression.” Journal of Religion and Health.

Kopacza, Marek S., Joseph M. Currier, Kent D. Drescher, and Wilfred R. Pigeon. 2016. “Suicidal Behavior and Spiritual Functioning in a Sample of Veterans Diagnosed with PTSD.” Journal of Injury and Violence Research.

Koszycki, Diana, Kelley Raab, Fahad Aldosary, and Jacques Bradwejn. 2010. “A Multifaith Spiritually Based Intervention for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Pilot Randomized Trial.” Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Krentzman, Amy R., Stephen Strobbe, J. Irene Harris, Jennifer M. Jester, and Elizabeth A.R. Robinson. 2017. “Decreased Drinking and Alcoholics Anonymous Are Associated with Different Dimensions of Spirituality.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 9 (September): S40–48.

Lee, Matthew T., Paige S. Veta, Byron R. Johnson, and Maria E. Pagano. 2014. “Daily Spiritual Experiences and Adolescent Treatment Response.” Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly.

Maliňáková, Klára, Radek Trnka, Gabriela Šarníková, Vladimír Smékal, Jana Fürstová, and Peter Tavel. 2018. “Psychometric Evaluation of the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (Dses) in the Czech Environment.” Ceskoslovenska Psychologie.

Mayoral Sánchez, Edwin G., Francisco A. Laca Arocena, and Juan Carlos Mejía Ceballos. 2010. “Daily spiritual experience in Basques and Mexicans: A quantitative study.” Journal of Transpersonal Research 2, (1): 10-25.

Mayoral Sánchez, Edwin G., Lynn G. Underwood, Francisco Laca Arocena, and Juan Carlos Mejía Ceballos. 2014. “Validation of the Spanish Version of Underwood’s Daily Spiritual Experience Scale in Mexico.” International Journal of Hispanic Psychology.

Moehling, Krissy K., Mary P. Nowalk, Richard K. Zimmerman, Joyce T. Bromberger, Chyongchiou J. Lin, Samantha E. Ford, and Marnie Bertolet. 2021. “Spirituality, Quality of Life and Frailty in Community-Dwelling Adults ≥ 50 Years.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, March.

Najihah, Nurul, Mohamed Shukri, Abdul Rahman, and Ahmad Badayai. 2020. “The Relationships between Spirituality, Coping Strategies, and Psychological Distress among Haemodialysis Patients.” Jurnal Psikologi Malaysia. Vol. 34.

Newmeyer, Mark, Benjamin Keyes, Sonji Gregory, Kamala Palmer, Daniel Buford, Priscilla Mondt, and Benjamin Okai. 2014. “The Mother Teresa Effect: The Modulation of Spirituality in Using the CISM Model with Mental Health Service Providers.” International Journal of Emergency Mental Health.

Ng, Siu Man. 2014. “Is Brief Daily Body-Mind-Spirit Practice Desirable for Staff Who Provide Services for Elderly People? Two Pilot Studies with Care and Professional Workers.” Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development 24 (4): 227–37.

Ng, Siu Man, Ted C.T. Fong, Elaine Y.L. Tsui, Friendly S.W. Au-Yeung, and Sally K.W. Law. 2009. “Validation of the Chinese Version of Underwood’s Daily Spiritual Experience Scale-Transcending Cultural Boundaries?” International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Pandya, Samta P. 2017. “Spirituality, Happiness, and Psychological Well-Being in 13- to 15-Year Olds: A Cross-Country Longitudinal RCT Study.” The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling: JPCC.

Park, Crystal L., M.A. Brooks, and J. Sussman. 2009. “Dimensions of Religion and Spirituality in Psychological Adjustment in Older Adults Living with Congestive Heart Failure.” In Faith and Well-Being in Later Life: Linking Theories with Evidence in an Interdisciplinary Inquiry, edited by Amy Ai and Monika Ardelt, 41–58.

Park, Crystal L., Dalnim Cho, Thomas O. Blank, and Jennifer H. Wortmann. 2013. “Cognitive and Emotional Aspects of Fear of Recurrence: Predictors and Relations with Adjustment in Young to Middle-Aged Cancer Survivors.” Psycho-Oncology 22 (7): 1630–38.

Park, Crystal L., Donald Edmondson, Amy Hale-Smith, and Thomas O. Blank. 2009. “Religiousness/Spirituality and Health Behaviors in Younger Adult Cancer Survivors: Does Faith Promote a Healthier Lifestyle?” Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Park, Crystal L., Haikel Lim, Max Newlon, D. P. Suresh, and Deborah E. Bliss. 2014. “Dimensions of Religiousness and Spirituality as Predictors of Well-Being in Advanced Chronic Heart Failure Patients.” Journal of Religion and Health.

Patel, Ruchi. 2018. “Compassion Fatigue Among Mental Healthcare Providers and The Impact on Overall Wellbeing.”


Qomaruddin, Mochammad Bagus, and Rachmah Indawati. 2019. “Spiritual Everyday Experience of Religious People.” Journal of International Dental and Medical Research.

Rezaei, Seyedeh Mohadeseh, Seyed Mahmood Mosavinezhad, and Behnaz Ansari. 2020. “The Role of Spiritual Experiences in Feeling of Failure and Infertility Stress among Infertile Women.” 41 Health, Spirituality and Medical Ethics 7 (4).

Rias, Yohanes Andy, Yafi Sabila Rosyad, Roselyn Chipojola, Bayu Satria Wiratama, Cikra Ikhda Safitri, Shuen Fu Weng, Chyn Yng Yang, and Hsiu Ting Tsai. 2020. “Effects of Spirituality, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices toward Anxiety Regarding COVID-19 among the General Population in INDONESIA: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Journal of Clinical Medicine 9 (12): 3798.

Roberto, Anka, Alicia Sellon, Sabrina T. Cherry, Josalin Hunter-Jones, and Heidi Winslow. 2020. “Impact of Spirituality on Resilience and Coping during the COVID-19 Crisis: A Mixed-Method Approach Investigating the Impact on Women .” Health Care for Women International 41 (11–12): 1313–34.

Robinson, Elizabeth A.R., James A. Cranford, Jon R. Webb, and Kirk J. Brower. 2007. “Six-Month Changes in Spirituality, Religiousness, and Heavy Drinking in a Treatment-Seeking Sample.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Robinson, Elizabeth A.R., Amy R. Krentzman, Jon R. Webb, and Kirk J. Brower. 2011. “Six-Month Changes in Spirituality and Religiousness in Alcoholics Predict Drinking Outcomes at Nine Months.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Rounding, Kevin, Kenneth E. Hart, Stephen Hibbard, and Michelle Carroll. 2011. “Emotional Resilience in Young Adults Who Were Reared by Depressed Parents: The Moderating Effects of Offspring Religiosity/Spirituality.” Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health.

Rudaz, Myriam, Thomas Ledermann, and Joseph G. Grzywacz. 2019. “The Influence of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Gender on Subjective Well-Being over Time in Cancer Survivors.” Archive for the Psychology of Religion.

Saritoprak, Seyma N., Julie J. Exline, and Nick Stauner. 2018. “Spiritual Jihad among U.S. Muslims: Preliminary Measurement and Associations with Well-Being and Growth.” Religions 9 (5).

Savaryand, Nazanin, and Nazi Savary. 2019. “Investigating the Relationship between Daily Spiritual Experience and Cancer Patients Resilience Extent in Imam Khomeini Hospital of Tehran, 2015.” The Malaysian Journal of Nursing 11 (2).

Schmidt, Marlene. 2010. “Skala Zur Erfassung von Spirituellen Erfahrungen Im Alltag: Deutsche Adaptation Mit Hilfe von Strukturgleichungsmodellen.” Thesis, University of Zurich.

Shannon, Donna K., K. Elizabeth Oakes, N. J. Scheers, Frank J. Richardson, and Aaron B. Stills. 2013. “Religious Beliefs as Moderator of Exposure to Violence in African American Adolescents.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Shorkey, Clayton, Michael Uebel, and Liliane C. Windsor. 2008. “Measuring Dimensions of Spirituality in Chemical Dependence Treatment and Recovery: Research and Practice.” International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.

Sierra Matamoros, Fabio Alexander, Ricardo Sánchez Pedraza, and Claudia Irene Ibáñez Antequera. 2013. “Adaptación Transcultural de La Escala Daily Spiritual Experience Scale Para Su Uso En Colombia.” Revista Colombiana de Cancerología.

Soósová, Mária Sováriová, and Boris Mauer. 2020. “Psychometrics Properties of the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale in Slovak Elderly.” Journal of Religion and Health.

Stewart, Chris, Lauri Drum, and Lisa Rapp. 2018. “Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice Services Exploring the Relationship of Mental Health and Spirituality to Family Functioning: Does Spirituality Add to Our Understanding?” Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice Services.

Syukrowardi, Delly A., Susheewa Wichaikull, and Suparpit Von Bormann. 2017. “Spirituality as an Internal Protective Factor of Resilience in Children after Exposing Flood.” International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.

Taylor, Elizabeth Johnston, Iris Mamier, Khaled Bahjri, Triin Anton, and Floyd Petersen. 2009. “Efficacy of a Self-Study Programme to Teach Spiritual Care.” Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Vagnini, Kaitlyn M., and Kevin S. Masters. 2020. “A Psychometric Analysis of the Checklist Version of the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale.” Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Division 36 Annual Mid-Year Conference, March 13-14.

Voltmer, Edgar, Arndt Büssing, Christine Thomas, and Claudia Spahn. 2010. “Religiosity, Spirituality, Health and Work-Related Behaviour Patterns in Pastors of Two Free Protestant Denominations.” PPmP Psychotherapie Psychosomatik Medizinische Psychologie.

Wachholtz, Amy B., and Kenneth I. Pargament. 2005. “Is Spirituality a Critical Ingredient of Meditation? Comparing the Effects of Spiritual Meditation, Secular Meditation, and Relaxation on Spiritual, Psychological, Cardiac, and Pain Outcomes.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Wachholtz, Amy, and MaiLan Rogoff. 2013. “The Relationship between Spirituality and Burnout among Medical Students.” Journal of Contemporary Medical Education.

Warner, Erica T., Blake Victor Kent, Ying Zhang, M. Austin Argentieri, Wade C. Rowatt, Kenneth Pargament, Harold G. Koenig, et al. 2021. “The Study on Stress, Spirituality, and Health (SSSH): Psychometric Evaluation and Initial Validation of the SSSH Baseline Spirituality Survey.” Religions 12 (3): 1–17.

Whitaker, Robert C., Tracy Dearth-Wesley, and Allison N. Herman. 2021. “The Association of Daily Spiritual Experiences with Depression among Head Start Staff.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 56 (July): 65–77.

Whitehead, Brenda R., and Cindy S. Bergeman. 2012. “Coping with Daily Stress: Differential Role of Spiritual Experience on Daily Positive and Negative Affect.” Journals of Gerontology – Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

Wnuk, Marcin, and Jerzy Tadeusz Marcinkowski. 2014. “Do Existential Variables Mediate Between Religious-Spiritual Facets of Functionality and Psychological Wellbeing.” Journal of Religion and Health 53 (1): 56–67.

Wright, Bradley R.E., Richard A. Blackmon, David M. Carreon, and Luke Knepper. 2017. “Lessons Learned from SoulPulse, a Smartphone-Based Experience Sampling Method (S-ESM) Study of Spirituality.” In Faithful Measures: New Methods in the Measurement of Religion, edited by C.D. Bader. NYU Press.

Zafar, Huma, Shamsher Hayat Khan, Mazhar Iqbal Bhatti Assistant Professor, and Multan Post Graduate College. 2019. “Spirituality, Sense of Coherence, Resilience, and Stress among Earthquake Survivors of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Malik Mureed Hussain (Corresponding Author).” Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences (PJSS). Vol. 39.

Zemore, Sarah E., and Lee Ann Kaskutas. 2004. “Helping, Spirituality and Alcoholics Anonymous in Recovery.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

Zerach, Gadi. 2013. “Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction among Residential Child Care Workers: The Role of Personality Resources.” Residential Treatment for Children and Youth.