King and Hunt offer a set of l0 scales covering a variety of religious dimen­sions. Their scales are clustered under six headings: creedal assent, devotionalism, congregational involvement, religious knowledge, orientation to religion, and salience of religious beliefs.


The RELIGIOUS VARIABLES SCALES are derived from ear­lier work by King (1967) and King and Hunt (1969). They created a pool of items that rep­ resented some of the emerging consensus about the multidimensionality of religiosity. Their original formulations assumed a total of 11 hypothetical dimensions, including some developed by Allport and Ross (1967), Glock (1962), and Lenski (1961). Analysis of data gathered in 1965 and 1968 led King and Hunt to amend their findings (King & Hunt, 1969). They found that eight of their original hypothetical scales were confirmed through new computer-assisted statistical analysis. Fur­thermore, some two or three new dimensions were discovered.

On the basis of their earlier studies, King and Hunt repeated their general approach on a larger and more diverse population of sub­ jects using a somewhat modified universe of items. Their research produced the follow­ing ten scales, which reflect some degree of homogeneity and internal consistency. Note that the first six scales are similar to dimensions discussed by Glock (1962) and Lenski (1961):

  • Creedal Assent (7 items): similar to Glock’s ideological dimension and. Len­ ski’s doctrinal orthodoxy; seeks to find agreement with set of beliefs common to a broad spectrum of believing Christians.
  • 2. Devotionalism (5 items): related to Lenski’s devotionalism; items deal with personal prayer, closeness to and commu­nication with God.
  • 3-5. Congregational Involvement: three subscales related to Glock’s ritualis­tic dimension and Lenski’s associational dimension.
  • Church Attendance (3 items): church worship attendance; attendance at Communion.
  • Organizational Activity (6 items): self­ reported rating of activity; the number of evenings spent on church work; church of­fices held.
  • Financial Support (5 items): part of in­ come given to church; estimated contributions; giving to more than just general budget.
  • 6. Religious Knowledge (8 items): sim­ilar to Glock’s (1962) intellectual dimension; covers biblical knowledge; knowl­edge of church history; denominational and church polity.
  • 7-8. Orientation to Religion: Two sub­ scales in how a person sees religion functioning in daily life.
  • Growth and Striving (6 items): the ex­ tent to which a person is either satisfied or dissatisfied with his or her present reli­gious state.
  • Extrinsic (7 items): derived from All­ port and Feagin items (Feagin, 1964; All­ port & Ross, 1967); assumes an instru­mental, selfish attitude toward religion.
  • 9-10. Salience: two subscales measur­ing the relevance and importance of reli­gion.
  • Behavior (7 items): the importance of religious activities outside of the formal structure of the church, such as witnessing, reading the Bible, talking about religion, and visitation.
  • Cognition (5 items): somewhat related to the intrinsic dimension outlined by Feagin (1964) and Allport and Ross (1967); the importance of religion for one’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs; how important religious beliefs are to the rest of life.

Most items are measured on a 4-point (“strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”) scale. Religious knowledge items have six choices or possible answers. Items that deal with the frequency of activities have alterna­tives of regularly, fairly regularly, occasion­ ally, and seldom or never as alternatives.

The final scale consisted of 59 items. Thirty-two items were rejected as being re­dundant or statistically unrelated to the IO dimensions.

Practical Considerations:

These scales are straightforward and simple to use. The items are additive and unweighted, making analy­sis relatively easy. Like any set of multidi­mensional measures of religiosity, potential users must decide if the use of an extensive set of items like these is warranted given the purposes of their research. If it is important to measure the religious dimension with a high level of precision and complexity, these scales are an excellent choice. They have the advantages of being a refinement of several earlier versions and researchers may have some confidence that the items do form in­ternally consistent scales. Thirty minutes should be allowed for test administration.


In earlier studies, King (1967) and King and Hunt (1969) used data from a sample of 575 Methodists lo­cated in Dallas, Texas and its suburbs. In this study they used subjects from Protes­tant denominations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. A systematic sample of all members 16 years old and older was drawn. Questionnaires were distributed by mail and resulted in 1,356 usable returns (a response rate of 44%). The four denomina­tions represented were Disciples (n = 314), Missouri-Synod Lutheran (n = 344), Presby­terian (n = 346), and United Methodists (n = 339). Generally, this sample reflected white, mainline Protestants in urban north Texas. The authors later (King & Hunt, 1975) con­ ducted a replication with a more geographi­cally diverse sample of 872 individuals from the United Presbyterian denomination.

King and Hunt do note some limitations of their work. First, they note that these scales have been largely developed from data gathered from mainline Protestant de­ nominations. Therefore, use of these scales with Roman Catholics and Protestant Pentecostals (1972, p. 248) should be approached with caution. However, in principle it would seem that these scales have a wider applica­tion than either mainline Protestantism or even just Christianity in general. With some modification they might be used with Jew­ish or Muslim subjects.


Test-retest reliabilities are not presented. However, King and Hunt do offer internal consistency reliability coefficients. Their final selection of scale items was based upon two criteria: (a) a Cronbach’s alpha of .75 for a coefficient of homogene­ity and (b) some demonstration of analytical power when correlated with other variables. The scales are listed with their alpha coeffi­cients (see scales). They range from .734 (Financial Support; Extrinsic) to .852 (De­votionalism).

In addition, King and Hunt report item to scale correlations for each of the 59 items. These generally range from .39 to .70. In each scale the items are listed from high to low in order of item to scale correlation co­efficients.


King and Hunt argue that the validity of their scales may be judged in terms of utility or explanatory power. Intercorrela­tions among the 10 religiosity scales are presented in this volume with the scale. In addition, intercorrelations between the reli­gious dimensions and 5 other cognitive style scales is presented. One low but statistically significant positive correlation was between certain ethnic attitudes and church atten­ dance, organizational activities, religious knowledge, growth and striving, and salience (1972, p. 244). In other words, there was a positive correlation between racial tolerance (i.e., less prejudice) and congregational activity, knowledge about the faith, dissatisfaction with religious at­tainment, and importance of religion. This is similar to some of the findings of Allport and Ross (1967).

Items for Ten Religious Scales

The various scales are simple, additive, and unweighted. See endnotes for more information. Generally, each item has four possible answers (e.g., strongly agree= 4, agree= 3, disagree= 2, and strongly disagree = l), which are added together to produce a combined score. Some items are used on more than one scale.

  1. Creedal Assent (.834)2

    l. (.70)3 I believe that the word of God is revealed in the Scriptures.4

    1. (.65) I believe in God as a Heavenly Father who watches over me and to whom I am accountable.
    2. (.58) I believe that God revealed Himself to man in Jesus Christ.
    3. (.58) I believe that Christ is a living entity.
    4. (.58) I believe in eternal life.
    5. (.54) I believe in salvation as release from sin and freedom for new life with God.
    6. (.53) I believe honestly and wholeheartedly in the doctrines and teaching of the church.
  2. Devotionalism (.852)

    l. (.74) How often do you pray privately in places other than at church?

    1. (.73) How often do you ask God to forgive your sin?
    2. (.65) Private prayer is one of the most important and satisfying aspects of my reli­ gious experience.
    3. (.63) When you have decisions to make in your everyday life, how often do you try to find out what God wants you to do?
    4. (.59) I frequently feel very close to God in prayer, during public worship, or at im­portant moments in my daily life.
    1. Congregational Involvement
    2. Church Attendance (.821)

      l. (.71) How often have you taken Holy Communion (the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist) during the past year?

      1. (.69) During the last year, how many Sundays per month on the average have you gone to a worship service: (None-Three or more).
      2. (.64) If not prevented by unavoidable circumstances, I attend Church: (more than once a week-less than once a month).
    3. Organizational Activity (.831)
      1. (.69) How would you rate your activity in this congregation (very active-inactive)?
        1. (.63) How often do you spend evenings at church meetings or in church work?
        2. (.59) I enjoy working in the activities of the church.
        3. (.59) Church activities (meetings, committee work, etc.) are a major source of satis­ faction in my life.
        4. (.57) I keep pretty well informed about my congregation and have some influence on its decisions.
        5. (.55) List the church offices, committees, or jobs of any kind in which you have served during the past 12 months.
    4. Financial Support (.734)

      Congregational Involvement

      (.56) Last year, approximately what percentage of your income was contributed to the church? (Answer in terms of your individual income or that of your family, whichever is appropriate.) (l or less-IO% or more).

    1. (.53) I make financial contributions to church: (in regular, planned amounts-seldom or never).
    2. (.51) During the last year, what was the average monthly contribution of your family to your local congregation? (Under $5-$50 and up)
    3. (.48) In proportion to your income, do you consider that your contributions to the Church are: (generous-small)?
    4. (.40) During the last year, how often have you made contributions to the church in addition to the general budget and Sunday school? (regularly-never)
  3. Religious Knowledge (.769)
    1. (.56) Which of the following were Old Testament prophets? (Deuteronomy, Ecclesi­astes, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Leviticus)
    2. (.54) Which of the following books are included in the four Gospels? (James, John, Mark, Matthew, Peter, Thomas)
    3. (.53) Which of the following were among the twelve disciples of Christ? (Daniel, John, Judas, Paul, Peter, Samuel)
    4. (.50) Which of the following acts were performed by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry? (resisting the temptations of Satan; healing ten lepers; leading his people against the priests of Baal; parting the waters of the Red Sea; overcoming Goliath; turning water into wine)
    5. (.48) Which of the following men were leaders of the Protestant Reformation? (Aquinas; Augustine; Calvin; Cranmer; Hegel; Luther)
    6. (.44) Which of the following principles are supported by most Protestant denomina­tions? (Bible as the word of God; separation of church and state; power of clergy to forgive sins; final authority of the church; justification by faith; justification by good works)
    7. (.43) Which of the following books are in the Old Testament? (Acts; Amos; Gala­ tians; Hebrews; Hosea; Psalms)
    8. (.41) Which of the following denominations in the United States have bishops? (Dis­ciples; Episcopal; Lutheran; Methodist; Presbyterian; Roman Catholic)
  4. Orientation to Religion

    1. Growth and Striving (.806)

      1. (.61) How often do you read literature about your faith (or church)? (Frequently- Never)

      2. (.60) How often do you read the Bible?

      3. (.59) I try hard to grow in understanding of what it means to live as a child of God.

      4. (.57) When you have decisions to make in your everyday life, how often do you try to find out what God wants you to do?

      5. (.54) The amount of time I spend trying to grow in understanding of my faith is: (Very much-Little or none)

      6. (.52) I try hard to carry my religion over into all my other dealings in life.

    2. Extrinsic (.734)

      1. (.52) It is part of one’s patriotic duty to worship in the church of his choice.

      2. (.49) The church is the most important place to form good social relationships.

      3. (.46) The purpose of prayer is to secure a happy and peaceful life.

      4. (.45) Church membership has helped me to meet the right kind of people.

      5. (.42) What religion offers me most is comfort when sorrows and misfortune strike.

      6. (.39) One reason for my being a church member is that such membership helps to es­tablish a person in the community.

      7. (.39) Religion helps to keep my life balanced and steady in exactly the same way as my citizenship, friendships, and other memberships do.

  5. Salience

  1. Behavior (.825)

    1. (.68) How often in the last year have you shared with another church member the problems and joys of trying to live a life of faith in God?

    2. (.60) How often have you personally tried to convert someone to faith in God?

    3. (.59) How often do you talk about religion with your friends, neighbors, or fellow workers?

    4. (.57) When faced by decisions regarding social problems, how often do you seek guidance from statements and publications provided by the Church?

    5. (.54) How often do you read the Bible?

    6. (.53) How often do you talk with the pastor (or some other official) about some part of the worship service: for example, the sermon, scripture, choice of hymns, etc.?

    7. (.49) During the last year, how often have you visited someone in need, besides your own relatives?

  2. Cognition (.808)

    1. (.64) My religious beliefs are what really lie behind my whole approach to life.

    2. (.64) I try hard to grow in understanding of what it means to live as a child of God.

    3. (.59) Religion is especially important to me because it answers many questions about the meaning of life.

    4. (.56) I try hard to carry my religion over into all my other dealings in life.

    5. (.54) I frequently feel very close to God in prayer, during public worship, or at im­portant moments in my daily life.

  3. The items on each scale are ranked by their item-scale correlation coefficients, from highest to lowest.
  4. A coefficient of homogeneity (Cronbach’s alpha).
  5. The item-scale correlation, with that item dropped from the scale.
  6. Items have four alternative answers, except the knowledge items (IV), which have six. Most items are answered on a 4-point scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Sixteen “how often” items have “regularly,” “fairly frequently,” “occasionally,” and “sel­ dom or never” as alternatives. The alternatives to other items are indicated in parentheses.


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

Subsequent Research:

Hilty, D. M., Morgan, R. L., & Burns, J. E. (1984). King and Hunt revisited: Dimensions of re­ligious involvement. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 23, 252-266.

Hilty, D. M., & Morgan, R. L. (1985). Construct validation for the religious involvement inventory: Replication. Journal for the Scientific Study of Reli­gion, 24, 75-86.


Allport, G. W., & Ross, J.M. (1967). Personal religious orientation and prejudice. Journal of Per­sonality and Social Psychology, 5, 432-433.

De Jong, G., Faulkner, J., & Warland, R. (1976). Dimensions of religiosity reconsidered: Evidence from a cross-cultural study. Social Forces, 54, 866-889.

Feagin, J. R. (1964). Prejudice and religious types: A focus study of southern fundamentalists. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 4, 3-13.


Glock, C. Y. (1962). On the study of religious commitment: Review of recent research bearing on religious and character formation. A research sup­plement lo Religious Education, July-August, S98-S110.

Glock, C. Y., & Stark, R. (1966). Christian be­ liefs and anti-Semitism. New York: Harper & Row. King, M. (1967). Measuring the religious vari­able. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 6, 173-190.

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

King, M., & Hunt, R. (l 972). Measuring the re­ligious variable: Replication. Journal for the Scien­tific Study of Religion, 11, 240–251.

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

Lenski, G. (1961). The religious factor. New York: Doubleday, 1961.