Table of Contents
The Religious Status Inventory is a measure of Christian religious maturity. Malony (1985) defines Christian maturity in the following way:
Mature Christians are those who have identity, integrity and inspiration. They "identify" in that their self-understanding is as children of God-created by Him and destined by Him to live according to a di vine plan. They have "integrity" in that their daily life is lived in the awareness that they have been saved by God's grace from the guilt of sin and that they can freely respond to God's will in the present. They have "inspiration" in that they live with the sense that God is available to sustain, comfort, encourage, and direct their lives on a daily basis. (p. 28)
The Religious Status Inventory contains 160 items measured on a 5- point scale ranging from "not true of me" (I) to "true of me" (5). Scores are simply added together. Thus, total scores may range from a low of 160 to a high of 800, with higher scores indicating greater religious maturity.
The Religious Status Inventory, like the Religious Status Interview (RSI), was originally designed to assess eight dimensions of religious experience based on Pruyser (1976): (a) Awareness of God, (b) Acceptance of God's Grace and Steadfast Love, (c) Being Repentant and Responsible, (d) Knowing God's Leadership and Direction, (e) Involvement in Organized Religion, (f) Experiencing Fellowship, (g) Being Ethical, and (h) Affirming Openness in Faith. Each dimension consists of 20 items, half of which are reversed scored, resulting in a range for each dimension of 20 (low religious maturity) to 100 (high religious maturity).
However, a factor analysis conducted by Jackson (1994) found seven rather than eight dimensions: (a) Importance of Religion in Daily Life (64 items), (b) Worship and Commitment (44 items), (c) Complex ity of Faith (7 items), (d) Rejection of Simplistic Faith (7 items), (e) Involvement in Organized Religion (5 items), (f) Social Ethics (5 items), and (g) Optimal Religious Functioning (49 items-a higher order fac tor consisting of items from Factors 2 and 5). A scoring key is provided at the end of instrument in this volume for both the seven- and eight-dimension analyses.
Malony (1985) identifies several assumptions or characteristics of the Religious Status Interview. Many of the same assumptions or characteristics apply to the Religious Status Inventory as well. First, "religion," is understood as a "substantive social reality rather than a dynamic subjective motivation" (p. 26). Second, the inventory is limited to Christian religion, not religion in general. Third, the inventory attempts to assess how substantive beliefs function in the life of the individual being evaluated.
No special considerations are necessary in administering or scoring this instrument.
Normative data for the Religious Status Inventory were based on 451 Christian college and seminarian students throughout the United States. Means and standard deviations of the eight original dimensions were re ported. Meaos (with a possible range of 20-100 on each dimension) were quite con sistent across the eight dimensions, ranging from a low of 69.06 (Involvement in Organized Religion) to a high of 77.87 (Knowing God's Leadership). Standard deviations were less consistent, ranging from a low of 6.27 (Being Repentant and Responsible) to a high of 14.57 on (Involvement in Organized Religion).
Lukaszewski, Archer, Malony, Newton, and Jackson (1996) report mean scores of Jackson's (1994) seven factors based on 810 protocols. Mean scores were quite variable, ranging from a low of 2.72 (on a 1-5 range) for Involvement in Organized Religion to a high of 3.92 for Social Ethics.
Lukaszewski et al. (1996), based on Jackson's (1994) seven factors, re port alpha coefficients ranging from .54 (on the higher order factor of Optimal Religious Functioning) to .98 (Importance of Religion in Daily Life). Test-retest reliability coefficients range from .70 (Social Ethics) to .92 (Worship and Commitment; Optimal Reli gious Functioning).
Porter (1995) found, as predicted, no significant differences of religious maturity as measured by the Religious Status Inventory between four modes of religious experience: verbal, affective, social-relational, and transcendental. Research in progress at the time of this writing is investigating the relationship between the Religious Status Inventory's assessment of religious maturity and measures of both happiness as well as neuroticism and psychoticism.
Religious Status Inventory
nstructions: This inventory contains 160 items designed to study the way people think about their Christian faith and how it interacts with their lives. It may be taken by those who consider themselves Christians. Items will reflect what you believe, feel, and do in connection with your faith. There are no right or wrong answers. Just answer what is true for you.
On the answer sheet provided for you please write your name and other information that has been asked for. Then begin by reading each statement and deciding whether this is true for you or not true of you. For each item, indicate on the answer sheet a number representing the following answers:
Not true 1--------------2--------------3---------------4-------------- 5 True
- I'm always happy because God takes care of all my problems.
- I have read many books about my faith in the past year.
- Making a decision is as simple as praying to God and waiting for an answer.
- I regularly attend church or a religious community.
- Religion is just one aspect of my life.
- I pray for help in my decisions rather than ask for specific answers.
- I have little desire to read a religious book.
- When someone asks me to forgive them, I am able to do so.
- Whatever problems I have I bring on myself.
- I have been unable to find a group of Christians where I feel accepted.
- I contribute a lot of money to social causes.
- When I've done something wrong, I try to do something to correct the situation.
- Both prayer and personal action are needed to deal with difficult problems. One with- out the other is insufficient.
- Without my Christian faith I would be a much different person.
- I change my religious beliefs frequently.
- I usually find something else to do rather than go to church.
- When God forgives me, I feel like I'm "off the hook."
- I would be free of problems if life treated me better.
- There are a lot of different parts of my faith that I want to explore.
- God can use my anger in positive ways.
- I make most of my decisions based on the idea that I should do to others what I want them to do to me.
- I feel a desire to worship God throughout the week.
- Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life.
- I am trying to help change many things that are unfair in the world.
- When I've wronged someone, it is useless to apologize to them.
- I know that God will bring good out of all my painful situations because he loves me.
- Being with non-Christians makes me feel uncomfortable.
- It's important to do what other people want you to do.
- God is more important to me than anything else in my life.
- I feel accepted and understood when I am with other Christians.
- I am conscious that my relationship to God affects how I relate to my family.
- I decide if something is right or wrong by what happens to me.
- I feel safe and secure knowing that God loves me.
- When I sin, I have a sense that God cares less about what happens to me.
- I consider myself very active in moral issues.
- I consistently give a large amount of my income to a church or religious organization.
- It is difficult for me to relate to Christians who believe differently than I do.
- When making major decisions, I ask for help from my family, friends, and God.
- I trust that the future is in God's hands and that I will accept whatever he has for me.
- I need God's help in every minor decision I make.
- One reason I go to church is to feel important in my community.
- Denominational differences mean little to me.
- When I am with a group of Christians, I feel at home.
- I feel good about what I do because I know I am contributing to society.
- I have little desire to be involved in social action.
- Receiving God's forgiveness inspires 1J1e to worship and praise God.
- I feel comfortable receiving God's love and forgiveness.
- All I can do is take what comes in life.
- When I have hurt someone, I feel so guilty that I find myself avoiding them.
- I fail to understand why things have to happen to me.
- It bothers me that God does so little to make my life better.
- I try to keep my religion separate from other aspects of my life.
- I lack direction from God in how to fulfill my roles with my work and family.
- If someone hurts me, it makes it hard for me to trust them again.
- I have a regular devotional time in order to grow in my faith.
- Some problems and sins are so complex that it is difficult to put blame on any one thing.
- I expect some hard times in the future but trust that God will help me through them.
- I have difficulty handling someone getting angry at me.
- I feel a common bond with other Christians.
- God is an impersonal force.
- I can do little to make my future better.
- I'm uneasy around people from different cultures or races.
- I am quick to ask for forgiveness when I have hurt someone.
- I consistently go to church or a religious community twice a week or more.
- My religious beliefs should be kept separate from what I do in my daily life.
- I can know God merely by interacting with people.
- I respect beliefs that are different than mine.
- The causes of my problems include both myself and my surroundings.
- Prayer helps me feel closer to God.
- I am involved in my community as an expression of my faith.
- I continue to wish the best for someone who has hurt me.
- I volunteer quite often for church positions.
- Prayer is useless in helping make major decisions.
- I enjoy being around other people of different cultures or races.
- I think about what God would want for my life when I make any major decision.
- I have a great deal of problem with people who feel that our culture is better than others.
- I see Jesus mainly as the founder of Christianity.
- I feel forgiven by God when I sin.
- It bothers me when religious differences keep people from becoming friends.
- I would lose interest in my job if it paid less.
- In the midst of prayer I sometimes stop and just listen.
- Sometimes anger allows me to be productive in my actions.
- I rarely go to church or a religious community.
- I stand in awe and wonder of God my creator.
- To make Jesus relevant to my daily life seems to be taking religion too far.
- I continue to give money to the church during times when it is hard to pay my bills.
- As a Christian everything is wonderful and will continue to be.
- I have close friendships with both Christians and non-Christians.
- God punishes sin.
- I am careful to do what is right for fear that I will be punished by God.
- I fail to see how my religious life relates to what I do every day.
- Often I wonder if God really forgives me.
- When problems are difficult, I recognize there is nothing I can do so I give it all to God.
- My faith affects every aspect of my life.
- My main reason for going to church is to make me feel better.
- When I think of God's love, I get a warm and tender feeling inside.
- I believe that God has a purpose for me in my job or what I do.
- I seldom take time to think about my relationship with God.
- My decisions are always founded on my faith.
- Pain makes me question God's role in my life.
- I have a hard time accepting God's forgiveness because I feel unworthy to receive it. I 02. It is hard to be open and honest with other Christians.
- 103. I feel good about how God uses me in what I do.
- I 04. When I have wronged someone my first thought is how that person might be feeling.
- I lack close relationships with any group of Christians.
- I rarely give money to the church.
- I expect to have both good times and bad times in my future.
- People from other cultures who become Christians will need to give up much of their cultural lifestyle.
- I try to serve God through my work.
- I 10. I have little desire to give money to the church.
- The church lacks a feeling of being like a family to me.
- I rarely consider what God would think about my actions.
- I enjoy my work because it makes me feel good about myself.
- When someone has wronged me, I give them the cold shoulder.
- What is right or wrong is sometimes unclear.
- I refuse to listen to someone who says things contrary to the Bible.
- I rely solely on my own resources to make major decisions in my life.
- People from some cultures or races are difficult to trust.
- Suffering seems to develop and refine my faith and character.
- I need friendships with both Christians and non-Christians to help me grow.
- God will still love me regardless of what I do.
- Without my faith in God I would be lacking much of my sense of what is right or wrong.
- I live my life without need of God's assistance.
- When I have hurt someone, I try to ask myself what I can do to make it right.
- My faith is renewed when I attend church.
- I seldom struggle with decisions of what is right or wrong.
- I avoid volunteering for church positions.
- I need to be more involved in church than just being a member.
- If you follow the Bible, you will know what is right or wrong in all situations.
- The main reason I worship God is that I feel I should.
- Involvement in a religious community seems unnecessary to me.
- I avoid churches that encourage a lot of involvement.
- I don't get angry.
- I try to keep a balance between what I can do for myself and what God can do for me.
- It is important for Christians to separate themselves from non-Christians.
- It would be hard to refrain from worshiping God.
- Both God's guidance and my capabilities are important for dealing with difficult situations.
- It's hard for me to understand how other people get so excited about God's love.
- My concern for others is based on my love for God.
- Knowing that God loves me gets me very excited.
- I am comfortable with other people believing differently than I.
- I go to church mainly to worship God and fellowship with other Christians.
- If I've done something wrong, it is better to let it go than to bring it up again and apologize for it.
- Because God loves and forgives me, it makes me want to go out of my way to help someone else.
- I pray mainly when things are out of my control.
- I have little need to deal with moral issues because very few affect me.
- I like to just sit and enjoy a church service. I dislike being asked to participate in it.
- My religious beliefs are complex.
- I feel an absence of God's love in my life.
- I go to church because I want to grow as a Christian. 15 l. I feel guilty when I fail to pray.
- Talking to people from different cultures helps me to have a broader view of life.
- Some people would say that my faith is too simple.
- I am very active in church activities.
- To know that God loves me is the only thing I need to know about my faith.
- God is disappointed with me when I get angry.
- I have discussed my faith with others on many occasions within the past year.
- I live my daily life without thinking about my religious beliefs.
- Discussing my faith with others seems unnecessary.
- I try to keep an open mind about others' beliefs and am willing to change my beliefs if necessary.
Scoring the Religious Status Inventory
There are two ways to score the Religious Status Inventory (RSI). One way is by using the eight dimensions on the basis of which the RSI was originally constructed. The other way is by using the seven factors found in a factory analysis done in 1993 by Dr. Cynthia Jackson. These two alternatives are described below.
When the phrase "reverse score" is used, it means that when you add the answers to "reverse score" items to the score for that dimension or factor, you should change all 5s to ls, all 2s to 4s, and leave all 3s as they are. This will make sense with an example. Item 7 is "I have little desire to read a religious book" (the person taking the RSI answers along a 5-point scale where 5 equals "true of me" and 1 equals "not true of me"). Item 7 is a "reverse score" item on Dimension 7: Affirming Openness in Faith and on Fac tor 1: Religious Omissions. Since all scores on dimensions and on factors are additive (in the sense that you add up scores on the items to get a score for that dimension or factor), the higher the score, the more that dimension or factor characterizes them. Thus, it can be seen that if a participant checked 1 on this item, it should be weighted as a 5 in adding to the person being more Open in their Faith (Dimension 7) as well as adding to the number of things they do that should not do (Factor 1: Religious Omissions). Note that Dimension 7 is positive; higher scores contribute to greater religious maturity while Factor 1 is negative; higher scores contribute to less religious maturity.
SCORING FOR DIMENSIONS OF THE RSI
Items: 13 22 23
84 134 136 137
(Reverse Score) 40
85 93 123 130 145 151
Items: 26 33
(Reverse Score) 1
Items: 6 31
(Reverse Score) 3
Items: 8 12
(Reverse Score) 9
Items: 4 36
(Reverse Score) 16
|Items:||30 42 43 59 74 76 79 88 120 152|
|(ReverseScore)||10 27 37 62 102 105 108 111 118 135|
Items: 2 14
(Reverse Score) 5
The range for each dimension is 20 to 100. A total score can be obtained by adding up all dimensions. The range for the total score is 160 to 800.
Scoring for the Seven Factors
Factor 1: Importance of Religion in Daily Life (64 items)
Factor 2: Worship and Commitment (44 items)
Factor 3: Complexity of Faith (7 items)
Items: 56 68 115 120 148 152 160
Factor 4: Rejection of Simplistic Faith (7 items)
Items: l 3 40 93 116 129 156
Factor 5: Involvement in Organized Religion (5 items) Items: 2 11 36 72 154
Factor 6: Social Ethics (5 items)
Items: l 22 36 72 154
One Higher Order Factor: Optimal religious Functioning (items from Factors 2 & 5; 49 total items)
This scale is unpublished. Information may be obtained by contacting H. Newton Malony through the Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 180 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101.
A number of unpublished master's theses and doctoral dissertations at Fuller Theological Seminary are further establishing the metric properties of the scale. No other subsequent research using this measure was found.
Hadlock, M. N. (1988). Construction and initial validation of the Religious Status Inventory. Un published doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.
Jackson, C. ( 1994). A factor analysis of the Religious Status Inventory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.
Lukaszewski, M., Archer, P. , Malony, H. N., Newton, S., & Jackson, C. (1996). Factorial stabil ity of the Religious Status Inventory: Empirical and ideological implications. Paper presented at the So ciety for the Scientific Study of Religion, Nashville, TN.
Massey, D. (1988). Construction and factor analysis of the Religious Status Inventory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.
Malony, H. N. (1985). Assessing religious maturity. In E. M. Stern (Ed.), Psychotherapy and the religiously committed patient (pp. 25-34). New York: Hayworth Press.
Pruyser, P. (1976). The minister as diagnostician. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.
Porter, R., Jr. (1995). Religious maturity and preferred mode of religious experience. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.