Spiritual fitness is a key domain in DoD’s Total Force Fitness framework for maintaining the total well-being and readiness of the force. DoD mandates that spiritual-fitness stakeholders produce metrics for use in their domain to generate useful information on the spiritual component of individual, unit, and organizational readiness. There are many validated and public survey instruments that assess aspects of spirituality. However, those scales are often lengthy and burdensome, and they often assume a theistic orientation (which limits their usefulness in pluralistic institutions). Lastly, most are poorly aligned with fitness and readiness objectives.
From 2016–2020, CHAMP researchers partnered with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to develop the CHAMP SOCOM Spiritual Fitness Scale (SSFS or SFS) tool. This document is a multi-dimensional, reliable, and validated quantitative metric that’s capable of measuring commitment to 3 distinct spiritual attributes, two of which apply to both theists and non-theists: Personal Connection to God or a Higher Power (PCHP), the Pursuit of Meaning, Purpose, and Values (PMPV), and Service and Sacrifice for the Greater Good (SSGG).
SSFS is brief (only 17 items) and easy to administer. This page contains a number of resources that can help new and prospective users understand its design and then brainstorm creative uses for their own contexts.
CHAMP’s Spirituality & Performance Research Team would like to thank the following researchers and contributors for their work on this tool (listed in alphabetical order): Zainah Abulhawa, Elizabeth Alders, David Alexander, Joshua Bonner, Kathleen Charters, Howard Crosby, Ian Gutierrez, Steve Isaac, Josh Kazman, Jessica Kegel, Stephen Krauss, Eric Schuler, Sarah Shirley, and Danielle Worthington.
To further explore SFS methodology, development, findings, and suggested applications, read the following articles:
Alexander, D. W., Abulhawa, Z., & Kazman, J. (2020). The SOCOM spiritual fitness scale: Measuring “vertical” and “horizontal” spirituality in the human performance domain. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling: Advancing theory and professional practice through scholarly and reflective publications, 74(4), 269–279. doi:10.1177/1542305020967317
Alexander, D. W., & Deuster, P. A. (2021). Aligning and assessing core attributes of spiritual fitness for optimizing human performance. Journal of Special Operations Medicine, 21(1), 101–104.
Alexander, D. W. (2020). Applications of the SOCOM spiritual fitness scale: Program development and tailored coaching for optimized performance.