ATTITUDE TOWARD CHRISTIANITY SCALE

Variable:

The attitude toward Christianity Scale focuses solely on people's perception of the Christian religion. References to Jesus, the Bible, and prayer prevent it from being used as a generic measure of interest in religion.

Francis (1993) conceptualizes attitude as an "underlying, deep seated and relatively stable evaluative predisposition" (p. 4). While some researchers conclude that per­ sons' attitudes are unrelated to their behav­ior, the author positions himself with those who conclude that attitudes can predict be­haviors when the two are measured in simi­ lar manners and in similar degrees of speci­ficity.

Description:

This scale measures attitudes toward Christianity for both children and adults. It examines persons' self-evaluation of their personal prayer life, church atten­ dance, and beliefs about Jesus, God, and the Bible. Because these variables clearly be­ long to the religious domain, they are likely to reflect one's general view of Christianity. Form ASC4B of the child and adult ver­sion consists of 24 (Likert-type) items to which subjects respond on a 5-point scale ranging from "agree strongly" to "disagree strongly." Eight questions are reverse scored because they are negatively phrased. Higher scores indicate more favorable attitudes toward Christianity. The child and adult versions differ by two questions. The item "I like school lessons about God very much" was altered in the adult version to "I like to learn about God very much"; the item "saying prayers in school does no good" was altered to "I think saying prayers does no good." A short form of this scale also has been developed. Preliminary findings suggest that it strongly correlates to its parent version.

Practical Considerations:

This scale re­ quires no special administration skills and can easily be administered to individuals or groups. It is brief and takes less than five minutes to complete. Because some of the items are negatively phrased, children under age 8 may have difficulty understanding their meaning. Their scores should be inter­preted cautiously (Francis, 1988).

Norms/Standardization:

Normative data are provided in several research studies cited by Francis (1993). Specialized norms are provided for the following groups: 12- to 18-year-old Roman Catholic school pupils in England; 11- to 16-year-old Roman Catholic school pupils in Northern Ireland; 11- to 16-year-old Protestant school pupils in Northern Ireland; 11- to 16-year-old non­ denominational school pupils in England; 8- to 16-year-old nonchurch-related school pupils in England; and 11- to 16-year-old Roman Catholic school pupils in Scotland. The sample sizes in these studies were large, ranging from 935 subjects to 4,405 subjects.

Normative data for the adult version is presently less extensive, but several studies have provided means and standard devia­tions for the following groups: a British sample of 185 adults with ages ranging from 18 to 64 (Francis & Stubbs, 1987); a sample of 126 undergraduate students in the United Kingdom (Francis, 1993); a sample of U. S. adults with ages unreported and the mean and standard deviations reported only by gender (Lewis, 1995; Maltby, 1994).

Reliability:

In the original sample for the children's version of the ASC4B, Cronbach's alpha coefficients ranged from .954 to .971 for ages 8-16. Subsequent samples have yielded Cronbach's alpha coefficients between .91 and .97. In the adult version, Cronbach alpha coefficients have ranged from .95 to .98. These coefficients are ex­ceptionally high and suggest that this scale is highly reliable. In the child's version, item-to-rest-of-test correlation coefficients ranged from .40 to .87 (for ages 8-16) and in the adult version ranged from .42 to .92, which supports this instrument's unidimen­sionality and homogeneity.

Short versions of this instrument have been developed for both the child and adult versions. Preliminary studies have yielded samples with reliability statistics similar to the parent scales (Francis 1993).

Validity:

Subjects completing the ASC4B are likely to be aware that they are answer­ing questions related to their views of Christianity, which supports the face validity of this instrument. Because no specific rela­tionship can be assumed between attitude and behavior, the author argues that the sup­ port for this instrument's construct validity is inferred by determining the extent to which attitude scores predict different as­pects of religious behavior and beliefs. Re­ search studies (Francis, 1988, 1993) utiliz­ing the child version of this instrument have yielded outcomes predicting the following: gender attitudes toward religion, decline of interest in religion with age among adoles­cents, personal practice of religion versus public expression, parental religious behav­ior and children's attitude toward religion, and personality variables and attitudes to­ ward religion.

Research with the adult version of the ASC4B is less extensive but generally sup­portive of its construct validity. Several studies have yielded results demonstrating strong relationships between religious attitudes and the following: religious practices, religious beliefs, psychoticism, and other personality variables. Some studies have yielded findings differing from previous re­ search with the child's version. Gender, for example, has been significantly correlated to attitudes toward Christianity with chil­dren, but this relationship has produced mixed results with adults. Scores on lie scales, extraversion, and neuroticism also have produced unanticipated relationships to the ASC4B. These disparate findings may reflect the actual differences between child and adult populations as opposed to reflect­ing the ASC4B's inability to measure reli­gious attitudes.

Attitude toward Christianity, Form ASC4B (Child Version)

Read the sentence carefully and think, "Do I agree with it?"

If you agree strongly, put a ring round.............  NC D OS    If you agree, put a ring round ................... As NC D DS If you are not certain, put a ring round ............ AS A D OS If you disagree, put a ring round ................. AS NC OS

If you strongly disagree, put a ring round .......... AS A NC D

1.

I find it boring to listen to the Bible.*. ........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

2.

I know that Jesus helps me. ................

AS

A

NC

D

OS

3.

Saying my prayers helps me a lot. ...........

AS

A

NC

D

DS

4.

The church is very important to me. ..........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

5.

I think going to Church is a waste of my time.*. .

AS

A

NC

D

OS

6.

I want to love Jesus.......................

AS

A

NC

D

OS

7.

I think church services are boring.*. . .........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

8.

I think people who pray are stupid.*. .........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

9.

God helps me to lead a better life. ...........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

10.

I like school lessons about God very much. ....

AS

A

NC

D

OS

(10.

I like to learn about God very much.1) •••••••••

AS

A

NC

D

OS

II.

God means a lot to me.....................

AS

A

NC

D

OS

12.

I believe that God helps people. .............

AS

A

NC

D

OS

13.

Prayer helps me a lot. .....................

AS

A

NC

D

OS

14.

I know that Jesus is very close to me .........

AS

A

NC

D

DS

15.

I think praying is a good thing...............

AS

A

NC

D

OS

16.

I think the Bible is out of date.*. ............

AS

A

NC

D

OS

17.

I believe that God listens to prayers ..........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

18.

Jesus doesn't mean anything to me.*. .........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

19.

God is very real to me. . ...................

AS

A

NC

D

OS

20.

I think saying prayers in school does no good.*. .

AS

A

NC

D

OS

(20.

I think saying prayers does no good.*1). • ••••••

AS

A

NC

D

OS

21.

The idea of God means much to me. . .........

AS

A

NC

D

OS

22.

I believe that Jesus still helps people. .........

AS

A

NC

D

DS

23.

I know that God helps me ..................

AS

A

NC

D

OS

24.

I find it hard to believe in God.*. ............

AS

A

NC

D

DS

*Negative items are reverse scored.

Location:

Child's version: Francis, L. J. (1978). Attitude and longitude; A study in measurement. Character Potential, 8, 119-130.

Adult Version: Francis, L. J. & Stubbs, M. T. (1987). Measuring attitudes towards Christianity: From childhood to adulthood. Personality and Indi­ vidual Differences, 8, 741-743.

Recent Research:

Francis, L. J. (1992). Reliability and validity of the Francis Scale of attitude towards Christianity (adult). Journal of Comparative Religious Educa­ tion and Values, 4, 17-19.

Francis, L. J. (1993). Attitudes towards Chris­ tianity during childhood and adolescence: Assem­ bling the jigsaw. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 14(2), 4-6.

References

Francis, L. J. (1988). Measuring attitude to­ wards Christianity during childhood and adoles­cence. Personality and Individual Differences, IO, 695-698.

Lewis, C. A. (1995). Religiosity and personality among US adults. Personality and Individual Dif­ferences, 18, 293-295.

Maltby, J. (1994). The reliability and validity of the Francis scale of attitude towards Christianity among Republic of Ireland adults. Irish Journal of Psychology, 15, 595-598.