The Religious Position Scale con­ sists of two portions: the dimensions of “Cognitive Salience” and “Extrinsic Reli­gious Orientation.” The Cognitive Salience portion evaluates the deeper significance of one’s religion to his or her personal life. The Extrinsic Religious Orientation portion evaluates the extent to which one’s religion serves a more superficially pragmatic or “means to an end” role.


V sing an empirical rather than theoretical approach, King and Hunt pub­lished a series of studies beginning in I 965 which sought to verify the multidimensional nature of religiosity and develop scales to describe its major dimensions (King & Hunt, 1990). Jennings (1972) used two of the scales refined by King and Hunt, and he labeled these The Religious Position Scale.

Developing a pool of 130 items taken from previous studies or developed from three exploratory surveys, King and Hunt used inter correlational, cluster, and factor analysis to explore and describe the multidi­mensional nature of religiosity. Using factor and cluster analysis with a sample of 575 Methodist church members in the Dallas area, King (1967) initially proposed nine di­mensions for the religious variable, one of which he characterized as an extrinsic/dog­matism factor. King and Hunt (1969) then amended these findings after using item­ scale analysis on the same data. Inspired by the contributions of Allport, Glock and Lenski in the proposed theoretical dimensions of religiosity, they then developed an expended item pool which they administered to four Protestant denominations in the Dal­ las-Fort Worth metropolitan area (King & Hunt, 1972a; King & Hunt, 1972b). The fac­ tor analysis they performed on these data re­sulted in ten scales which defined different dimensions of religious behavior and congre­gational involvement. Two of these factors were Salience/Cognition and Extrinsic Ori­entation (Hunt & King, 1971), which com­prised the items in the Religious Position Scale used by Jennings (1972). Jennings cited King and Hunt (1970) as his source for the Religious Position Scale.

King and Hunt (1975) went on to adminis­ter their complete set of scales to a nation­ wide sample of main-line Presbyterians, and obtained similar findings in terms of the major factors that emerged in their item pool. An overview of the evolution of their scales and the theoretical basis for their work is pre­sented in King and Hunt (1990).

The Religious Position Scale used by Jen­nings (1972) contains a total of 12 items posed in 5-point Likert format statements (strongly disagree to strongly agree). Five of the items pertain to the Cognitive Salience subscale, and the remaining seven make up the Extrinsic Religious Orientation subscale. The difference between these two subscales corresponds closely to Allport and Ross’ (1967) distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic orientation.

This instrument does not assess any particular religious faith. All of the items are unidirectional, in that the more one agrees with each item, the higher the total score for that scale.

Practical Considerations:

Presentation and scoring of the instrument are clear and straightforward. The instrument is brief and easily combined with other instruments for a more comprehensive set of measures. Items are phrased appropriately for a wide variety of Christian and non-Christian reli­gious groups.


Since King and Hunt were primarily interested in refining the major scales comprising religiosity by exam­ining their factor structure, they do not report normative means or standard deviations for their data. The only published normative data (sample means and standard deviations) for this scale are found in Jennings (1972) sur­ vey of 364 students (61% male, 39% female) at a metropolitan junior college in Dallas, Texas. The model age range of this sample was 20-24 years. Approximately 48% of the subjects were single, while 45% were mar­ried. For the five items comprising the Cognitive Salience portion of the Religious Posi­tion Scale, the overall normative mean is 16.03 (SD = 4.0 I). Males had a mean of 15.74 (SD = 4.02) while the females had a mean of 16.48 (SD= 3.98). The overall mean for the seven items comprising the Extrinsic Religious Orientation portion of the Religious Position Scale was 18.29 (SD= 5.22). Normative scores for this factor were not presented by gender.


Jennings (1972) reported both mean inter-item correlation coefficients and Spearman-Brown modifications of split-half coefficients. Both coefficient values for the Extrinsic Religious Orientation subscale were relatively low (interitem: r = 0.15; Spearman-Brown: r = 0.51). The coefficients were somewhat stronger for the Cognitive Salience subscale (r =.56, r = 0.74). Given the low inter-item correlation and split-half coefficient values, the internal consistency for the Extrinsic Religious Orientation sub­ scale should be viewed as suspect.


In terms of construct validity, Jen­nings (1972) found no significant differences with respect to age or gender. The Cognitive Salience subscale was moderately related to the Scriptural Literalism Scale (Hogge & Friedman, 1967; r = 0.63) and Religious World View Scale (McLean, 1952; r = 0.65). The Extrinsic Religious Orientation subscale was less strongly related to each scale re­spectively (r = 0.35; r = 0.31).

Religious Position Scale

Please answer the following statements by circling the number that most accurately describes your beliefs based on the choices provided below.

  • 1 = strongly agree
  • 4 = moderately disagree
  • 2 = moderately agree
  • 5 = strongly disagree
  • 3 = neutral

Cognitive Salience

1. I try hard to grow in understanding of what it means to live as a child of God. 1 2 3 4 5
2. I frequently feel very close to God in prayer, during public worship, or at important moments in my daily life. 1 2 3 4 5
3. I try hard to carry my religion over into all my other dealings in life. 1 2 3 4 5
4. My religious beliefs are what really lie behind my whole approach to life. 1 2 3 4 5
5. Religion is especially important to me because

it answers many questions about the meaning of life.

l 2 3 4 5

Extrinsic Religious Orientation Scale

1. What religion offers me most is comfort when sorrows and misfortune strike. 1 2 3 4 5
2. The purpose of prayer is to secure a happy and peaceful life. 1 2 3 4 5
3. It is part of one’s patriotic duty to worship in the church of his choice. 1 2 3 4 5
4. Religion helps to keep my life balanced and steady in exactly the same way as my citizenship, friendships, and other memberships do. 1 2 3 4 5
5. One reason for my being a church member is that such membership helps to establish a person in the community. 2 3 4 5
6. The church is most important as a place to formulate good social relationships. Church membership has helped me to meet the right kind of people. 1 2 3 4 5


Jennings, F. L. ( 1972). A note on the reliability of several belief scales. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11, 157-164.

King, M. B., & Hunt, R. A. (1975). Measuring the religious variable: National replication. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 14, 13-22.

Subsequent Research:

None found.


Allport, G., & Ross, J. (1967). Personal religious orientation and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 432-443.

Hogge, J., & Friedman, S. T. (1967). The Scrip­tural Literalism Scale: A preliminary report. Journal of Psychology, 66, 275-279.

Hunt, R. A., & King, M. B. (1971). The intrinsic­ extrinsic concept: A review and evaluation. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, JO, 339-356.

King, M. (1967). Measuring the religious vari­able: Nine proposed dimensions. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 6, 173-190.

King, M. B., & Hunt, R. A. (1969). Measuring the religious variable: Amended findings. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 8, 321-323.

King, M. & Hunt, R. A. ( 1970). Religion, preju­dice and cognitive style. Unpublished paper.

King, M. B., & Hunt, R. A. (1972a). Measuring the religious variable: Replication. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11, 240-251.

King, M. B., & Hunt, R. A. (1972b). Measuring religious dimensions: Studies of congregational involvement. Studies in Social Science, no. 1. Dallas: Southern Methodist University.

King, M. B., & Hunt, R. A. (1990). Measuring the religious variable: Final comment. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 29, 531-535.

McLean, M. (1952). Religious world views. Mo­tive, 12, 22-26.