The Attitude toward Evangelism Scale measures the degree to which people are open to the rights of religious groups to evangelize. The authors define evangelism as “the employment of religious ideology in intensive direct contacts with prospective recruits” (p. 56). The conceptual basis of this instrument is the public (i.e., the pro­mulgation of faith in public places or media to recruit converts) and visitation (i.e., se­ curing conversions through direct visitation with individuals or families) components of evangelism.


The scale consists of 21 items to which people respond in a standard 5- point Likert format ranging from “strongly disagree” (1) to “strongly agree” (5). These items were selected from a total of 80 items on the basis of showing the largest differ­ences between the 10% of an original sample of introductory psychology students who scored highest on the 80-item scale and the 10% who scored lowest on the 80-item scale. Seven of the 21 items are reverse scored.

The concept of attitude toward evange­lism is multidimensional. Four factors with item loadings of at least .30 were identified (with items listed in decreasing correlational order):

  • Factor I: Respect for the courage to stand up for one’s beliefs (items 9, 4, 7, 18, 3, 13, IO, I, 16, 8, and 17)
  • Factor 2: Interpersonal approach (items 19, 20, 14, 12, 2, and 5)
  • Factor 3: Not identified (items 5 and 15)
  • Factor 4: Not identified (item 11)

Practical Considerations:

The scale is straightforward and requires no special con­siderations for administration. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.


The initial sample of students for the item-selection phase of the study consisted of 130 introductory psychol­ogy students at Oregon State University in fall, 1980. The age range was 18 to 37 years, with the mean age of 19.58. The sample was equally divided between males and females. No descriptive statistical data (means, stan­dard deviations, etc.) were reported.

A similar second sample of introductory psychology students during the same semes­ter at the same institution (55% male; mean age of 20.65) was selected to test the scale’s reliability and validity. Again, no descrip­tive data were reported.


The scale demonstrates high in­ ternal reliability. The uncorrected split-half reliability coefficient was .83. The corrected split-half reliability coefficient (using the Spearman-Brown prophecy formula) was .91.


A construct validity correlation co­ efficient of .76 was calculated between this scale and the Fanaticism scale of Putney and Middleton’s (1961) Dimensions of Reli­gious Ideology Scale (see chap. 8). Higher evangelism scores were reported by the au­thors for Protestants versus non-Protestants, for those who claim a religious identity ver­ sus those who claim no religious identity and for those “active in religion” versus those “inactive in religion.” On the basis of “generally known denominational belief, policy, and practice” (p. 59), Protestants from “high-outreach” denominations scored higher than Protestants from “low-outreach” denominations.


Please respond to each of the 21 items below by using the following rating scale.

  • 1 = strongly disagree
  • 2 = disagree
  • 3 = neutral
  • 4 = agree
  • 5 = strongly agree
  1. I like to listen to a religious evangelist.
  2. Religious soliciting is an infringement on my right to privacy. (R)
  3. There is a strong need for more people to openly attempt to convert others.
  4. People testifying to their faith are an inspiration to me.
  5. People who wish to spread their beliefs should be restricted to a designated area. (R)
  6. Religion shouldn’t be pushed. (R)
  7. It is time that more people listen to religious spokesmen.
  8. Freedom to seek religious converts is important to me.
  9. I am thrilled when someone approaches me with the story of what God has done for him and can do for me.
  10. If a person believes he knows the word of God, it is his duty to spread it.
  11.  I don’t like it when people push their religion on me in public places. (R)
  12. Door-to-door evangelists deserve at least two minutes of listening time.
  13. I love it when someone speaks in public of his faith.
  14. Religious solicitors who go door-to-door are often helpful.
  15. I’m annoyed at people who feel it is necessary that the rest of the world must conform to their beliefs and standards. (R)
  16. I hate it when I am approached on matters of religion. (R)
  17. If people who “sell” religion could convert everyone, we would have a much better society.
  18. When someone publicly shares his testimony with me, I take it as a great gift.
  19. It doesn’t bother me to see religious evangelists going door-to-door.
  20. Religious evangelizing is an invasion of privacy. (R)
  21. I like people who come door-to-door to bring God to me.


Seyfarth, L. H., Larsen, K. S., Lamont, K., Haasch, C., Hale, T., & Haskin, D. (1984). Attitude toward evangelism: Scale development and valid­ity. Journal of Social Psychology, 123, 55-61.

Recent Research:

No subsequent research using this scale was found.


Putney, S., & Middleton, R. (1961). Dimensions and correlates of religious ideologies. Social Forces, 39, 285-290.