LOVING AND CONTROLLING GOD SCALES

Variable:

The Loving and Controlling God scales measure two primary dimensions of God image: a loving God image and a con­ trolling God image.

Description:

Five parts of adjectives were used for the Loving God index: rejecting­ accepting, loving-hating, damning-saving, unforgiving-forgiving, and approving-disap­ proving. Likewise, five pairs of adjectives were used for the Controlling God index: demanding-not demanding, freeing-restrict­ing, controlling-uncontrolling, strict-lenient, and permissive-rigid. Each of the 10 items is scored on a semantic differential scale from 0 to 6; thus, scores for each scale range from 0 to 30.

Practical Considerations:

This is self-ad­ ministered paper-and-pencil measure that requires no special examiner skill to admin­ister, score, or interpret. No instructions are provided. The items for each scale clearly relate to their respective God image scales.

Norms/Standardization:

The sample con­sisted of 128 male Catholic high school sub­ jects. In order to obtain a homogeneous reli­gious sample, these subjects were drawn from an original sample of 205 male sub­ jects on the basis of criteria such as having been a member of a local Catholic parish for at least the past ten years. The final sample consisted of the following educational dis­tribution: 44 freshmen, 31 sophomores, 19 juniors, and 34 seniors. The mean age for the sample was 15.4 years.

Reliability:

Benson and Spilka (l 973) ex­amined scale homogeneity on a sample of 50 Lutheran subjects and found the coeffi­cients to be .72 for the Loving God scale and .60 for the Controlling God scale.

Validity:

Benson and Splilka (l 973) found self-esteem to be, as predicted, positively related to the Loving God scale. In addition, they found locus of control to be unrelated to the Controlling God scale. Brokaw and Edwards (1994) found the Loving God scale to be positively correlated with and the Controlling God scale to be negatively cor­ related with level of object relations devel­opment as measured by the Ego Function Assessment Questionnaire Revised (EFAQ­ R).

Loving and Controlling God Scales

I.

Damning

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Saving (L)

2.

Rejecting

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Accepting (L)

3.

Demanding

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Not Demanding (C)*

4.

Loving

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Hating (L)*

5.

Freeing

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Restricting (C)

6.

Unforgiving

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Forgiving (L)

7.

Controlling

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Uncontrolling (C)*

8.

Approving

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Disapproving (L)*

9.

Strict

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Lenient (C)*

10.

Permissive

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Rigid (C)

(L) Loving God item

(C) Controlling God item

reverse-scored

Location:

Benson, P., & Spilka, B. (1973). God image as a function of self-esteem and locus control. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 12, 297-310.

Subsequent Research:

The Loving and Controlling God Scales have been a consis­tently fertile source for subsequent theoreti­cal and empirical investigation since the scale was first published in 1973. The fol­ lowing is only a representative list of re­ search studies that have employed this mea­sure.

Bowman, E. S., Coons, P. M., Jones, R. S., & Oldstrom, M. (1987). Religious psychodynamics in multiple personalities: Suggestions for treatment. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 41, 542-554.

Brokaw, B. F., & Edwards, K. J. (1994). The re­lationship of God image to level of object relations development. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 22, 352-371.

Gabbard, C. E., Howard, G. S., & Tageson, C. W. (1986). Assessing locus of control with religious populations. Journal of Research in Personality, 20, 292-308.

Hall, T. W., Tisdale, T. C., & Brokaw, B. F. (1994). Assessment of religious dimensions in Christian clients: A review of selected instruments for research and clinical use. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 22, 395-421.

Hertel, B. R., & Donahue, M. J. (1995). Parental influences on God images among children: Testing Durkheim metaphoric parallelism. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 34, 186-199.

Jolley, J.C., & Taulbee, S. J. (1986). Assessing perceptions of self and God: Comparison of prison­ ers and normals. Psychological Reports, 59, 1139-1146.

Kirkpatrick, L. A., & Shaver, P. R. (1992). An attachment-theoretical approach to romantic love and religious belief. Personality and Social Psy­chology Bulletin, 18, 266-275.

Park, C. L., & Cohen, L. H. (1993). Religious and nonreligious coping with the death of a friend. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 17, 561-577.