The Salience in Religious Com­mitment Scale measures "the importance an individual attaches to being religious" (p. 111). The authors designed and used the scale to measure the extent to which indi­vidual adults consider their religious beliefs to be important, both in general and when making decisions. The scale was developed as part of a study to measure the relation­ ship of religious salience with orthodoxy, church activism, political conservatism, anti-black prejudice, and racism.


This is a short scale with only three items. The first two items are in a mul­tiple-choice format, whereas the third mea­ sures degree of agreement with a general statement on a 4-point Likert-type scale. Total scores range from 3 to 11.

The authors assert that the scale attempts to measure "an orientation toward religious commitment, similar to that implied in All­ port's [1966] intrinsic religiosity" (p.116). Intrinsic religiosity has effects on everyday life and decisions, and the Salience in Religious Commitment Scale attempts to mea­ sure that concept.

Practical considerations:

This scale may be easily administered and may be scored in less than five minutes. Note, however, that the authors suggest that salience is not lin­ ear and that only scores of IO or 11 (on the I I-point scale) indicate the level of reli­gious salience that is likely to relate to other measured variables.


Roof and Perkins used the questionnaire with 518 adult Epis­copalians in North Carolina. The sample represents a rather narrow segment of American adults: predominantly Southern born, college-educated Episcopalian profes­sionals and managers. No specialized norms were reported.


An alpha reliability coefficient of .72, moderate at best and minimally ac­ceptable for research purposes, is the only measure of reliability reported.


The scale relies heavily on face va­lidity. The authors also report a correlation coefficient of .81 between this salience measure and a companion test of religious orthodoxy that focuses on doctrinal commit­ment. This strong relationship suggests that the salience scale is indeed measuring some characteristic of religiousness.

The usefulness of information gained from the scale may be limited by the narrow range of scores. The authors did not find that the scale enabled them to predict church activism, political conservatism, or racism with much confidence, since the highest correlation coefficient was . I0. It re­ mains to be seen, however, whether the "threshold" effect predicted by the authors (that salience has impact only on these scor­ing at the highest levels of the scale) is valid and heuristically useful.

Salience in Religious Commitment Scale

Shown below are the scale items. Numbers in parentheses indicate values.

  1. Important for my life, but no more important than certain other aspects of my life (2).
  2. Only of minor importance for my life, compared to certain other aspects of my life (1).
  3. Of central importance for my life, and would, if necessary come before all other as- pects of my life (3).

  • Everyone must make many important life decisions, such as which occupation to pur­sue, what goals to strive for, whom to vote for, what to teach one's children, etc. When you have made, or do make decisions such as these, to what extent do you make the de­cisions on the basis of your religious faith?
  1. I seldom if ever base such decisions on religious faith (1).
  2. I sometimes base such decisions on my religious faith but definitely not most of the time (2).
  3. I feel that most of my important decisions are based on my religious faith, but usually in a general, unconscious way (3).
  4. I feel that most of my important decisions are based on my religious faith, and I usually consciously attempt to make them so (4).

  • Without my religious faith, the rest of my life would not have much meaning to it. strongly disagree (1) disagree (2) agree (3) strongly agree (4)

Note: Numbers in parentheses indicate values for scoring purposes.


Roof, W. C., & Perkins, R.P. (l 975). On concep­tualizing salience in religious commitment. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 14, 111-128.

Subsequent research.

None found.


Allport, G. W. (l 966). The religious context of prejudice. Journal for the Scientific Study of Reli­gion, 5, 447-457.