Love and Guilt-Oriented Di­mensions Scale

Variable:

The Love and Guilt-Oriented Di­mensions Scale attempts "to distinguish types of religious belief based upon the the­ological content of belief." The resulting instrument distinguishes between love-ori­ented and guilt-oriented interpretations of atonement in Christianity. To these dimen­sions is added an index of culture-oriented or conventional religiosity.

Description:

Centering their typology around the meaning of atonement in Chris­tianity, involving notions of love, guilt, and forgiveness, the authors hypothesized four types of religious belief. The guilt-oriented extrapunitive dimension characterizes indi­viduals who emphasize punishment for evildoers, vengeance, triumph of the right­eous, and their own certain identification with the forces of good. The guilt-oriented intropunitive dimension characterizes indi­viduals who emphasize punishment for evildoers and vengeance, and their own identification with unworthiness, badness, and guilt. The love-oriented self-centered dimension characterizes individuals who emphasize the benevolence of God and the complete forgiveness of their own sins. The love-oriented other-centered dimension characterizes individuals who emphasize the common humanity of all persons as creatures of God and God's loving redemp­tion of the whole world. To these four understandings of atonement, the authors added a fifth dimension, which they styled culture-oriented, the conventional. The conventionally religious were hypothesized to hold values that are more culturally than theologically oriented. Such individuals would argue that their children should at­ tend church to prepare them to be good citizens.

A pool of 48 items was generated from an unspecified number of conversations with members of Southern Baptist and United Church of Christ congregations and from "previous experience." There were 10 items for each of the guilt-love scales and 8 items for the culture-oriented scale. These items were then assessed on a 5-point Likert scale by 160 white seminary students in Southern California. Item rest of test corre­lations were computed for the items selected to represent each of the five hypothesized dimensions.

The sets of items constructed to assess the love-oriented self-centered, love-ori­ented other-centered, and culture-oriented, the conventional dimensions all produced satisfactory item rest of test correlations. The best five items were selected in each case. The guilt-oriented extrapunitive and guilt-oriented intropunitive sets of items functioned less satisfactorily. The two sets of items were therefore collapsed and the best five selected to produce a guilt-ori­ented scale.

In its present form the instrument con­tains 20 items, 5 items for each of four scales styled as: guilt-oriented, love-oriented self-centered, love-oriented other cen­tered, and conventional religiosity. Each item is assessed on a 5-point scale anchored as follows: definitely agree, tend to agree, neither agree nor disagree, tend to disagree, and definitely disagree. Scale scores are computed as a product of the respective items. This means that scores on the four scales range between 5 and 25. In each case a high score indicates agreement with the dimension being assessed and a low score means disagreement with the dimension being assessed.

Practical Considerations:

This paper-and­ pencil measure requires no special examiner skill to administer or score. Minimal in­structions are provided or necessary. Al­ though the theoretical debate underlying the development of this instrument remains highly relevant, the operational form may be heavily constrained by the generation and location of its development. Some con­ temporary groups may feel alienated by the non inclusive use of language.

Norms/standardisation:

Using the original sample of 160 seminarians, the authors pub­lished the following mean scores: guilt-ori­ented scale, 14.80 (SD, 4.85); love-oriented self-centered scale, 14.62 (SD, 3.36); love­ oriented other-centered scale, I 8.22 (SD, 3.51); conventional religiosity scale, 12.85 (SD, 3.52).

Reliability:

The authors reported the fol­ lowing alpha coefficients: guilt-oriented scale, .807; love-oriented self-centered scale, .561; love-oriented other-centered scale, .533; conventional religiosity scale, .660. For the guilt-oriented scale, item rest of test correlations ranged between .52 and .62. For the love-oriented self-centered scale, item rest of test correlations ranged between .22 and .43. For the love-oriented other-centered scale, item rest of test corre­lations ranged between .27 and .40. For the conventional religiosity scale, item rest of test correlations ranged between .29 and .48.

Validity:

No factor analysis was undertaken to assess the independence of the hypothesized dimensions. Intercorrelations show that the guilt-oriented scale correlates +.48 with the love-oriented self-centered scale, +.47 with the conventional religiosity scale, and -.46 with the love-oriented other-cen­tered scale. The love-oriented self-centered scale correlated +.34 with the conventional religiosity scale and -.06 with the love-ori­ented other-centered scale.

Construct validity was examined by cor­ relation with a measure of attitude toward church involvement in social action. As hy­pothesized, there was a positive correlation between this measure and the love-oriented other-centered scale (+.53), but negative correlations between this measure and the love-oriented self-centered scale (-.31), the guilt-oriented scale (-.52) and the conven­tional religiosity scale (-.27).

In a subsequent analysis, McConahay and Hough (1976) demonstrated positive correlations between symbolic racism and the conventional religiosity scale (+.41), the guilt- oriented scale (+.32) and the love-ori­ented self-centered scale (+.22), but a negative correlation between symbolic racism and the love-oriented other-centered scale (-.24).

Love and Guilt-Oriented Dimensions of Christian Belief

Please use the following scale to indicate the extent to which you agree with each item below.

  • definitely disagree
  • tend to agree
  • tend to disagree
  • definitely agree
  • neither agree nor disagree

Guilt-Oriented Scale

  1. The fires of Hell are the right place for adulterers, murderers, drunkards, and other per- sons who violate God's laws.
  2. The thought of God's anger should strike terror in the hearts of wild livers.
  3. Whatever God's punishment for me, I have no doubt that I deserve it.
  4. At the final judgment, we can be sure that those who sin in this life will be exposed.
  5. Nobody in the world is really good, least of all am I.

    Love-Oriented Self-Centered Scale

  6. The way the world can be changed is for each man to know that God loves him.
  7. The important thing in religion to me is the knowledge that God loves me like a father loves his children.
  8. When I have trouble, all I have to do is pray to God, who loves me, and he will help.
  9. Heaven is my home, and so I do not worry about this world.
  10. The main thing that Jesus taught was that God loves individual human beings just as they are.

    Love-Oriented Other-Centered Scale

  11. The greatest sin is man's sin against his fellow man.
  12. There is a goodness in man, even in the worst of us which is put there by God and which cannot be destroyed.
  13. If a man wants to serve God, let him serve mankind.

  14. We are all part of each other, because God's love for us is bound up in his love for oth­ers.
  15. It is love and not wrath that is the essence of the nature of God.

    Conventional Religiosity Scale

  16. Americans who are really good Americans are interested in the church.
  17. I want my children to have the experience of church attendance to prepare them to be good citizens.
  18. A religious man should be thrifty and honest, clean and hard working.
  19. A great advantage of churches is the friendly atmosphere they provide for one's associa­tions with the right kind of people.
  20. One of the marks of a good family is that they attend church somewhere, especially at Christmas and Easter.

Location:

Mcconahay, J. B., & Hough, J. C., Jr. (1973). Love and guilt-oriented dimensions of Christian be­ lief. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 12, 53-64.

Subsequent Research:

Mcconahay, J. B., & Hough, J. C., Jr. (1976). Symbolic racism. Journal of Social Issues, 32(2), 23-45.

Watson, P. J., Hood, R. W., Foster, S. J., & Mor­ris, R. J. (I 988). Sin, depression and narcissism. Review of Religious Research, 29, 295-305.

Watson, P. J., Hood, R. W., & Morris, J. R. (1985). Religiosity, sin and self-esteem. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 13, 116--128.

Watson, P. J., Morris, R. J., & Hood, R.W. (1987). Antireligious humanistic values, guilt and self-esteem. Journal for the Scientific Study of Reli­gion, 26, 535-546.

Watson, P. J., Morris, R. J., & Hood, R. W. (1988). Sin and self-functioning, part I: grace, guilt and self-consciousness. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 16, 245-269.

Watson, P. J., Morris, R. J., & Hood, R. W. (1989). Intrinsicness, religious self-love, and nar­cissism. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 8 (I), 31-37.

Watson, P. J., Morris, R. J., & Hood, R. W. (1990). Extrinsic scale factors: correlations and construction of religious orientation types. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 9 (3), 35-46.