The Age Universal Intrinsic-Ex- typical child or younger adolescent, this trinsic Religious Orientation Scale contains scale reliably measures religious orientation two separate subscales designed to measure on children as young as the fifth grade as two distinct religious orientations: an intrin- well as adults.

sic (I) and an extrinsic (E) orientation. But, Nineteen of the 20 items are scored on as the name suggests, this scale is useful for the same 5-point Likert continuum scale, both adults and children. Since its publica- with 1 indicating strong disagreement and 5 tion in I 983, the scale has been revised indicating strong agreement with each state- based on further psychometric evaluation. The other item, part of the I subscale, (see Gorsuch & McPherson this volume). measures the frequency of church attendance


This scale is a modified verdance, also on a 5-point Likert continuumsion of the Allport and Ross (1967) 1-E Re- where 1 indicates “a few times a year or ligious Orientation scale where each item is less” and 5 indicates “more than once a a rewritten version of the original. It is com- week.”

pletely interchangeable with the Allport and Like the Allport and Ross scale, the 9 in-

Ross scale. Whereas the original scale retinoic and the 11 extrinsic items should be quires language ability beyond that of the scored separately, since they apparently reflet independent dimensions rather than two unipolar constructs (see the discussion under “Results and comments” on the 1-E Religious Orientation Scale of Allport and Ross, 1967). The score of each subscale is determined by summing the scores of the 9 or 11 items, thus providing ranges of 9 to 45 for the I measure and 11 to 55 for the E measure.

Practical Considerations:

This paper-and­ pencil measure requires no special exam­iner skill to administer, score, or interpret. No instructions are provided, nor are they necessary beyond the usual guarantee of confidentiality and the emphasis on no “right” or “wrong” answers as an attempt to diffuse a socially desirable response ten­dency. The purpose of the test is clear: to measure I and E religious orientations in a fashion suitable for both children and adults. Face validity of the scale is high in that items are clearly related to either the I or the E orientation.


Two primary sam­ples were used. The first sample consisted of 101 “adult Protestant Christian volunteers” from six churches and a college dor­mitory. Adults were necessary to correlate the Allport and Ross items with the rewrit­ten items of the Age Universal Scale. In some cases there were multiple rewritten items with the highest correlating item (to the corresponding Allport and Ross item) selected.

The second sample consisted of 138 fifth and 119 seventh graders of various levels of verbal comprehension, as measured by the Altus (1948) Information Inventory. The au­thors maintained that children at a given grade level with lower verbal abilities should respond with equal reliability as those with higher verbal abilities if the scale claims to be useful at that particular grade level. As noted later, a precaution is neces­sary with children below the seventh grade who score low on measures of verbal com­ prehension.


With the first sample of adult Protestant volunteers, internal consistency reliability coefficients were .66 for the E subscale and .73 for the I subscale. These coefficients compare with .70 and .73 re­spectively with the same subjects on the Allport and Ross (1967) scale. Individual item-to-subscale correlations were not re­ ported. The correlation between I and E subscales was -.39. Among the 230 fifth­ and seventh-grade students (after 27 stu­ dents with scores of O or I on the Informa­ tion Inventory were dropped; see discussion under “validity”) in the follow-up study, the alpha coefficients were .75 for E and .68 for The 1-E correlation in the follow-up study was -.28.


Item-to-item correlations between the Age Universal and the Allport and Ross scales ranged from .34 to .78. The median correlation was .59. Entire subscale correla­tions between the Age Universal and the Allport and Ross scales were .90 for I and .79 for E. Negative correlations between I and E were virtually identical for the two scales: -.39 and -.38 respectively. On the basis of these results, the authors conclude that the Age Universal Scale is interchange­ able with the Allport and Ross scale for both the I and E measures.

In the follow-up study reported in the same article, Gorsuch and Venable (1983) included a measure of verbal ability called the Information Inventory (Altus, 1948) as a check on the properties of the Age Univer­sal Scale with fifth- and seventh-grade chil­dren of varying verbal abilities. Using mul­tiple regression, the authors concluded that the Age Universal Scale was appropriate for all but those with the lower verbal abilities below the seventh grade. For a sample of in­dividuals below the seventh grade, they rec­ommended including the Information Inven­tory (which can be group administered in less than five minutes) and exclude those children with abilities at the two lowest lev­els from a range of nine levels.

Age Universal 1-E Scale

The following items are included in the Age Universal Religious Orientation Scale. Items were administered in the (random) order listed and were all scored (except the sixth item) on the same 5-point Likert continuum:

  • I strongly disagree
  • 2 I tend to disagree
  • I’m not sure
  • I tend to agree
  • strongly agree
    1. (I) I enjoy reading about my religion.
    2. (E) I go to church because it helps me to make friends.
    3. (E) It doesn’t much matter what I believe so long as I am good.
    4. (E) Sometimes I have to ignore my religious beliefs because of what people might think of me.
    5. (I) It is important to me to spend time in private thought and prayer.

    6. (I) I would prefer to go to church: ( l) a few times a year or less

      • once every month or two
      • two or three times a month
      • about once a week
      • more than once a week
    7. (I) I have often had a strong sense of God’s presence.

    8. (E) I pray mainly to gain relief and protection.

    9. (I) I try to live all my life according to my religious beliefs.

    10. (E) What religion offers me most is comfort in times of trouble and sorrow.

    11. (I) My religion is important because it answers many question about the meaning of life.

    12. (I) I would rather join a Bible study group than a church social group.

    13. (E) Prayer is for peace and happiness.

    14. (E) Although I am religious, I don’t let it affect my daily life.

    15. (E) I go to church mostly to spend time with my friends.

    16. (I) My whole approach to life is based on my religion.

    17. (E) I go to church mainly because I enjoy seeing people I know there.

    18. (E) I pray mainly because I have been taught to pray.

    19. (I) Prayers I say when I’m alone are as important to me as those I say in church.

    20. (E) Although I believe in my religion, many other things are more important in life.


Gorsuch, R. L., & Venable, G.D. (1983). Devel­opment of an “Age Universal” I-E scale. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 22, 181-187.

Subsequent Research:

Griffin, G. A. E., Gorsuch, R. L., & Davis, A. (1987). A cross-cultural investigation of religious orientation, social norms, and prejudice. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 26, 358-365.

Nelson, P. B. ( 1989). Ethnic differences in in­trinsic/extrinsic religious orientation and depres­sion in the elderly. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 3, 199-204.


Allport, G. W., & Ross, J. M. (1967). Personal religious orientation and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 432-443.

Altus, W. D. (1948). The validity of an abbrevi­ated information test used in the army. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 12, 270-275.