The Religious Attitude Inventory define an individual’s self-image. is designed to measure the intensity or ex- An attitude that is not very ego involving istremeness of an individual’s religious attiless important to the characteristics that tude. Intensity of religious attitude (ranging make up the individual and thus is held less from extremely orthodox to neutral to ex- strongly. The Religious Attitude Inventory

individuals. An orthodox individual holds tremely nonconformist) is measured toward examines the intensity of the religious atti­ four issues: God, immortality, religious doc- tudes of both orthodox and nonconformist trine, and the church. It is assumed that individuals with very intense attitudes toward a particular topic have a high ego involve­ment with the issue. High ego involvement attitudes are very important to the individ­ual and are closely intertwined with the very essence of their personalities. These are antipositive attitudes toward traditional reli­gious doctrines, God, immortality, and the church in general. An individual who holds nonconformist religious attitudes, on the other hand, has negative attitudes toward traditional religious ideals, i.e., the church, God, religious doctrine, and immortality.


The Religious Attitude Inven­tory consists of 50 statements that measure religious attitudes in general and are not spe­cific to any one particular religious affiliation.

Individuals respond to the items on a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = strongly agree; 5 = strongly disagree). Nonconformist items are reverse scored. Higher scores indicate posi­tive/orthodox religious attitudes and lower scores indicate more negative/nonconformist attitudes toward religion. Respondents with moderate or neutral views on an item have the option of choosing “3,” indicating “neither agree nor disagree” on the response scale. Scores can range from 50 (extremely nega­tive/nonconformist attitude) to 250 (ex­tremely positive/orthodox attitude). Two fea­tures of this scale serve to reduce the possibility of response sets: (a) orthodox and nonconformist statements alternate randomly in the scale and (b) the inclusion of a neutral point on the response scale instead of limiting responses to agree/disagree positions.

Practical Considerations:

The Religious Attitude Inventory is a self-administered paper-and-pencil measure that could easily be administered in groups. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. This scale requires no special skills to score and the results are easy to interpret. Since this scale is not specifically tied to one religious affiliation, it is widely applicable to members of di­ verse religious backgrounds.


An early form of the inventory containing 156 items was ad­ ministered to 38 education graduate stu­ dents at the University of Illinois. The grad­uate students rated each item on a l (extremely orthodox) to 5 (extremely non­ conformist) scale. From this original sam­ple, the mean rating for each statement was calculated. The final 50-item form consisted of the 25 most extreme orthodox items and the 25 most extreme nonconformist items.

This final 50-item form was then admin­istered to 95 undergraduate students (82 fe­ males, 13 males) who were enrolled in introductory education classes at the Univer­sity of Illinois. The mean age of these stu­ dents was 20.5 years.


Reliability was determined by using a split-half coefficient of equivalence (corrected with the Spearman-Brown for­mula). Total scores for all of the odd-num­bered items and for all of the even-num­bered items were calculated for each respondent in the sample. The two sets of scores were then correlated. Ausubel and Schpoont (1957) report an “unusually high internal consistency” with a correlation co­ efficient of .97. This result is consistent with the split-half reliability coefficient of .96 reported independently by Foy, Lowe, Hildman, and Jacobs (1976). Test-retest re­ liability was not reported.


A validity study (Ausubel & Sch­ poont, 1957) was conducted using the origi­nal 95-member sample. Participants were categorized as orthodox, neutral, or noncon­formist based on their scores on the inven­tory. Twenty-six students each were in the “orthodox” and “nonconformist” groups. The “neutral” group consisted of the re­maining 43 students. Significance tests of the differences between the mean scores for these groups showed statistical significance at p < .01 among all three groups. The Reli­gious Attitude Inventory was able to dis­ criminate between individuals who hold ex­treme religious attitudes.

Another study (Foy et al., 1976) used two different samples to establish validity of the Religious Attitude Inventory. The first sam­ple, consisting of 88 undergraduates from the University of Southern Mississippi, com­pleted both the Religious Attitude Inventory and a 5-item questionnaire developed by the researchers to assess religious background and current religious practices. A correlation coefficient of .73 was obtained for the re­spondents’ scores on these two measures.

The second sample consisted of 195 (80 males and 115 females) South Mississippi residents who completed the Religious Atti­tude Inventory anonymously. Consistent with other religious measures (cf. Lenski, 1953), scores of males and females differed significantly (p < .001), with females’ scores re­flecting more orthodox attitudes than males.

The Religious Attitude Inventory

Respond to each of these items on a I to 5 scale:

  • Means that you strongly agree with a given statement.
  • Means that you tend to agree more than disagree with a given statement.
  • Means that you neither agree nor disagree with a given statement.
  • Means that you tend to disagree more than agree with a given statement.
  • Means that you strongly disagree with a given statement.
  1. God made everything-the stars, the animals, and the flowers.
  2. The gift of immortality has been revealed by prophets and religious teachers.
  3. * The church has acted as an obstruction to the development of social justice.
  4. There are many events which cannot be explained except on the basis of divine or supernatural intervention.
  5. * The church is a monument to human ignorance.
  6. * The idea of God is useless.
  7. God hears and answers one’s prayers.
  8. * The soul is mere suppositions, having no better standing than a myth.
  9. * The universe is merely a machine. Man and nature are creatures of cause and effect. All notions of Deity as intelligent Being or as a “spiritual force” are fictions, and prayer is a useless superstition.
  10.  It is by means of the church that peace and good-will may replace hatred and strife throughout the world.
  11. God created man separate and distinct from the animals.
  12. * The church is a harmful institution, breeding narrow-mindedness, fanaticism, and in­ tolerance.
  13. Christ, as the Gospels state, should be regarded as divine, as the human incarnation of God.
  14. * There is no evidence in modem science that the natural universe of human destiny is affected by faith or prayer.
  15. * The notion of retribution in a future life is due to wishful thinking.
  16. * The good done by the church is not worth the money and energy spent on it.
  17. The orderliness of the universe is the result of a divine plan.
  18. * The church is a stronghold of much that is unwholesome and dangerous to human wel­ fare. It fosters intolerance, bigotry, and ignorance.
  19. The existence of God is proven because He revealed Himself directly to the prophets described in the Old Testament.
  20. The church is the greatest influence for good government and right living.
  21. * God is only a figment of one’s imagination.
  22. Man is a creature of faith and to live without faith in some Supreme Power is to suffer a homesickness of the soul.
  23. God will, depending on how we behave on earth, reward or punish us in the world to come.
  24. * People who advocate Sunday observance are religious fanatics.
  25. * It is simple-minded to picture any God in control of the universe.
  26. The church is the greatest agency for the uplift of the world.
  27. * The idea of God is mere superstition.
  28. The world was created in six solar days.
  29. * The idea of God is unnecessary in our enlightened age.
  30. God has good reason for everything that happens to us, even though we cannot understand it sometimes.
  31. The soul lives on after the body dies.
  32. The existence of God is shown by the fortunate results through approaching Him in prayer.
  33. * The country would be better off if the churches were closed and the ministers were set to some useful work.
  34. * The so-called spiritual experience of men cannot be distinguished from the mental and emotional, and thus there can be no transference from this world to a so-called spiritual one.
  35. The first writing of the Bible was done under the guidance of God.
  36. * The church is hundreds of years behind the times and can not make a dent on modem life.
  37. Belief in God makes life on earth worthwhile.
  38. God cares whether we repent or not.
  39. * Man cannot be honest in his thinking and endorse what the church teaches.
  40. * There is no life after death.
  41. Since Christ brought the dead to life, He can give eternal life to all who have faith.
  42. * The church represents shallowness, hypocrisy, and prejudice.
  43. There is an infinitely wise, omnipotent creator of the universe, whose protection and favor may be supplicated through worship and prayer.
  44. * The paternal and benevolent attitude of the church is quite distasteful to a mature person.
  45. * The church deals in platitudes and is afraid to follow the logic of truth.
  46. God protects from harm all those who really trust Him.
  47. Immortality is certain because of Christ’s sacrifice for all mankind.
  48. * There is a far better way of explaining the working of the world than to assume any God.
  49. * It seems absurd for a thinking man to be interested in the church.
  50. The idea of God is the best explanation for our wonderful world.

*These items are negative, and the weights for their alternatives must be reversed for purposes of scoring (e.g., a response of 4 should be converted to a 2 and vice versa).


Ausubel, D. P., & Schpoont, S. H. (1957). Pre­ diction of group opinion as a function of extreme­ ness of predictor attitudes. The Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 19-29.

Shaw, M. E., & Wright, J.M. (1967). Scales for the measurement of attitudes. New York: McGraw­ Hill.

Recent Research:

Dolby, J. R., Hanson, C., & Strayer, R. (1968). Personality factors and religious attitude change. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 7, 283. Foy, D., Lowe, J. D., Hildman, L. K., & Jacobs,

K. W. (1976). Reliability, validity, and factor analy­sis of the Religious Attitude Inventory. Southern Journal of Educational Research, JO, 235-241.

Wyatt, C. S., & Johnson, R. W. (1990). The in­ fluence of counselors’ religious values on clients’ perceptions of the counselor. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 18, 158-165.


Ausubel, D. P., & Schpoont, S. H. (1957). Pre­ diction of group opinion as a function of extreme­ ness of predictor attitudes. The Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 19-29.

Foy, D., Lowe, J. D., Hildman, L. K., & Jacobs, K. W. (1976). Reliability, validity, and factor analy­ sis of the Religious Attitude Inventory. Southern Journal of Educational Research, JO, 235-24 l.

Lenski, G. (1953). Social correlates of religious interest. American Sociological Review, 18, 533-544.