RELIGIOUSNESS MEASURE

Variable:

Sethi and Seligman (1993) de­ signed the Religiousness Measure in an at­ tempt to correlate religiosity with attribu­tional style and optimism. Three aspects of religiousness were included on the measure: religious influence in daily life, religious in­volvement, and religious hope.

Description:

The Religiousness Measure consists of 17 questions. Religious hope is assessed through six questions (e.g., Do you believe that there is a heaven?, Do you believe your suffering will be rewarded?), each placed on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Religious involvement is measured using three questions (e.g., How often do you pray?) evaluated on a frequency scale. Six questions are designed to assess religious influence (e.g., How much influence do your religious beliefs have on the important decisions of your life?); these questions are also evaluated through a 7-point Likert format. In addition, the respondent is asked whether he or she believes in God and whether he or she would marry some­ one of another religion (to be answered yes or no).

Practical Considerations:

Directions for administering the religious measure are clear. Scoring for the religious hope and re­ligious influence items are determined by means for each subscale. Responses on the religious involvement questions are scored on a scale of l to 6, with the higher number indicating greater involvement. As in the other questions, a mean involvement score is then determined for each subject. The two yes/no questions are not used in quantifying religiousness.

Norms/Standardization:

Members of vari­ous religious groups in the United States served as subjects (N = 623). Three broad categories of religious affiliation were cre­ated into which these subjects were placed: fundamentalists (N = 208), moderates (N = 274), and liberals (N = 141). Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and Calvinists were placed into the fundamentalist category because these groups tend to interpret religious texts literally and because they place greater reg­ulations upon the daily behavior of their fol­ lowers. The moderate group was composed of four religions (Conservative Judaism, Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Methodism) based upon textual interpretation and less time (than fundamentalists) spent in reli­gious activities. The liberal category con­sisted of Reformed Jews and Unitarians be­ cause these religions encourage a skeptical and individualistic outlook. All subjects ranged in age from 18 to 65 years and were selected from urban areas (New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Washington, D. C.). No statistically significant effects of gender, age, education, or income were found among the subjects of the three broad religious classifications.

Reliability:

No formal attempt was made to establish the reliability of the measure.

Validity:

Significant differences were found between the fundamentalist, moderate, and liberal classifications in religious influence in daily life, religious hope, and religious involvement. The authors interpreted these dif­ferences as confirming their original divisions of the groups into the three broad categories. No significant differences were found within the three classifications on these religious dimensions. The authors re­ port that each of the three religious measures correlated positively with optimism as mea­sured by the Attributional Style Question­naire (Schulman, Castellon, & Seligman, 1989). The correlations were rather low (re­ligious involvement, r = .08; religious influ­ences r = 14; religious hope r = .21); how­ ever due to the large sample size, the correlations were statistically significant. No other attempt to validate the measure with established religious scales was reported.

Religiousness Measure

 

  1. Do you believe in God?

    yes no

  2. How important would you say religion is in your life?

    not at all important

  3. How often do you read holy scriptures?

    1. more than once a day

    2. once a day

    3. more than once a week

  4. How often do you pray?

    1. more than once a day

    2. once a day

    3. more than once a week

    4. once a week

    5. more than once a month

    6. less than once a month

  5. How often do you attend religious services and activities?

    1. more than once a day d. once a week

    2. once a day e. more than once a month

    3. more than once a week f. less than once a month

  6. How much influence do your religious beliefs have on the important decisions of your life?

    none of my decisions

    some of my decisions

    all of my decisions

  7. Would you marry someone of another religion? yes no

  8. How much influence do your religious beliefs have on what you wear?

    not at all influential

    somewhat influential

    extremely influential

  9. How much influence do your religious beliefs have on what you eat and drink?

    not at all influential

    somewhat influential

    extremely influential

  10. How much influence do your religious beliefs have on whom you associate with?

    not at all influential

    somewhat influential

    extremely influential

  11. How much influence do your religious beliefs have on what social activities you under­ take?

    not at all influential

    somewhat influential

    extremely influential

  12. Do you believe that there is a heaven?

    strongly disagree

    somewhat agree

    strongly agree

  13. Do you believe it is possible for all humans to live in harmony together?

    strongly disagree

    somewhat agree

    strongly agree

  14. Do you believe there are miracles?

    strongly disagree

    somewhat agree

    strongly agree

  15. Do you believe your suffering will be rewarded?

    strongly disagree

    somewhat agree

    strongly agree

  16. Do you believe that in the future your children will be able to lead a better life than yourself?

    strongly disagree

    somewhat agree

    strongly agree

  17. Do you believe the future will be a better place to live?
  • strongly disagree
  • somewhat agree
  • strongly agree

Location:

Sethi, S., & Seligman, M. E. P. (1993). Opti­mism and fundamentalism. Psychological Science, 4, 25fr.259.

Subsequent Research:

Seith, S., & Seligman, M. E. P. (1994). The hope of fundamentalists. Psychological Science, 5, 58.

References

Schulman, P., Castellon, C., & Seligman, M. (1989). Assessing explanatory style: The content analysis of verbatim explanations and the Attribu­tional Style Questionnaire. Behavior Research and Therapy, 27, 505-512.