Spiritual health in residential centers for persons with intellectual disability in Israel. A National Survey Academic Article uri icon


  • The Division for Mental Retardation (DMR) in Israel provides services to 6,000 persons of all ages in 53 residential centers, 1,700 persons in community-related residential facilities, and about 16,000 persons in day-care activities. This comprises a total of 23,000 persons out of Israel's population of 6,000,000. In residential care centers, 14.65% are adolescents between the ages 10-19 years (492 males, 405 females). A National Survey of all 53 residential centers was conducted in the year 2000 through questionnaires sent to directors. It included ten questions related to the definition of spiritual health, spiritual activities on a personal or collective basis, and it addressed the question of whether these activities seemed to increase the well-being or quality of life of persons with intellectual disabilities. Results from this first survey reflected difficulties with the care staff's concept of spiritual health, but nearly half expressed belief in the relationship between the physical, mental, and spiritual body, and the importance of harmoney among them. The staff described various spiritual health activities with residents. (and sometimes parents). In conclusion, spiritual health did not seem to be a conscious part of staff work with intellectually-disabled persons in residential care, but the positive response indicates that the survey may serve as a catalyst for future activities.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001