The SPIRITUAL ASSESSMENT INVENTORY , Brokaw, Edwards, & Key, 1993) (SAi) measures an individual’s spiritual formed the conceptualization of the first di- development or spiritual maturity from bothmension of the instrument; that is, the qual- an object relations and a contemplative spirity of a person’s relationship with God. ituality perspective. It is constructed on the The spiritual direction literature (Barry & premise that spiritual maturity is composed Connolly, 1982; Conn, 1989; Edwards, 1986) of two primary dimensions: (a) the equality was utilized as a source when constructing of an individual’s relationship with God and items related to the second dimension of the the degree of an individual’s awareness instrument: the degree of an individual’s of God in his or her life. Five factors under- awareness of God in his or her life. This lie the total score: Awareness, Instability, Defensiveness/Disappointment, Grandios­ity, and Realistic Acceptance. The instru­ment is designed for use with adults.


The development of the SPIRITUAL ASSESSMENT INVENTORY (SAi) was informed by both the object relations and contemplative spirituality literature. Theoretical and empirical works supporting a relationship between an individual’s level of object relations development and the na­ture of one’s relationship with God (Brokaw & Edwards, 1994; Carter & Barnhurst, 1986; Hall & Brokaw, 1995; Jones, 1991; Pingleton, 1984; Shackelford, 1978; This awareness is theorized to be only moderately related to an individual’s level of object rela­tions development because a person will be relating to God in a way influenced by early life relationships, but may or may not be aware of God’s presence in his or her life.

The instrument consists of 43 items and is self-administered. The items are pre­sented in a 5-point Likert format, with 1 in­dicating non endorsement and 5 indicating endorsement. Some items consist of two parts in order to explore the respondent’s re­ action to negative experiences with God. Five subscale scores (Awareness, Instability, Defensiveness/Disappointment, Grandiosity, and Realistic Acceptance) are generated by totaling the items pertaining to each.

Practical Considerations:

This paper-and­ pencil measure requires no special examiner skills and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Instructions to respondents are provided at the top of the first page of the instrument, and scoring instructions and an interpretive guide are available from the au­thors. Face validity appears high in that items can be readily identified as assessing quality of relationship with God and/or awareness of God’s presence.


To date, norms have been generated utilizing a nonclinical sample of college students from two univer­sities in southern California. The initial fac­ tor analysis was computed based on results from 193 subjects, and the revision was based on results from 449 subjects. Specific normative data such as subscale means are not reported.


Results from the second factor analysis of the SPIRITUAL ASSESSMENT INVENTORY SAi (449 subjects) suggest a five-factor solution; eigenvalues ranged from 11.14 to 1.56 and account for 50.5% of the total variance. Reliability of the five fac­ tors was estimated using Cronbach’s coeffi­ cient alpha measure of internal consistency. The values reported were Instability, .88; Defensiveness, .91; Awareness, .90; Realis­tic Acceptance, .76; and Grandiosity, .52.

Test-retest coefficients were computed for a subsample of 17 subjects; the length of time between administrations was two weeks. Reliability coefficients were Instabil­ity, .94; Defensiveness, .93; Awareness, .83; Realistic Acceptance, .59; and Grandiosity, .56. All estimates provided to date render the SAi a promising research tool, but further refinement of the psychometric properties is warranted before widescale use of the mea­ sure could be endorsed.


Construct validity of the SPIRITUAL ASSESSMENT INVENTORY SAi is promising, based on the results of the factor analysis, with the possible exception of the Grandiosity factor (Cronbach ‘s alpha = .52), which the authors admit requires further in­vestigation to assess what this factor is really measuring. Correlation of the scores on the SPIRITUAL ASSESSMENT INVENTORY SAi with scores on the Bell Object Relations Inventory (BORI; Bell, 1991) were also computed as an additional measure of construct validity, since both have a similar theoretical basis. The pattern of correlations between the SAi and the BORI was consis­tent with theoretical expectations with the exception of the Grandiosity factor, which echoes the low Cronbach’s alpha reliability estimate reported for this factor.

At this point, the SAi appears to be a rea­sonably reliable and valid measure for use with religious college students. Wider use will need to be determined through addi­tional investigations assessing different sample groups combined with additional psychometric refinement.



  1. Please respond to each statement by circling the number that best represents your experi­ence: Circle:

1 if the statement is not true of you at all; 2 if the statement is slightly true of you;

  • if the statement is moderately true of you;
  1. if the statement is substantially true of you; and 5 if the statement is very true of you.
  1. It is best to answer according to what really reflects your experience rather than what you think your experience should be.
  2. Give the answer that comes to mind first. Don’t spend too much time thinking about an item.
  3. Give the best possible response to each statement even if it does not provide all the infor­mation you would like.
  4. Try your best to respond to all statements. Your answers will be completely confidential.
  • A l. I have a good sense of how God is working in my life .
  • A 2. I regularly sense God speaking to me through other people
  • D 3. (a). There are time when I feel disappointed with God . (b). When this happens, I still want our relationship to continue . .
  • RA 4. Listening to God is an essential part of my life
  • A 5. I am frequently aware of God prompting me to do something
  • D 6. (a). There are times when God frustrates me …….. RA (b). When I feel this way, I still desire to put effort into our relationship
  • A 7. My experiences of God’s responses to me impact me greatly
  • I 8. I frequently bargain with God A 9. I am regularly aware of God’s presence in my interactions with other people
  • I 10. I am very afraid that God will give up on me
  • I 11. My emotional connection with God is very unstable
  • A 12. I am very sensitive to what God is teaching me in my relationships with other people
  • I 13. I almost always feel completely cut off from God
  • D 14. (a) There are times when I feel irritated at God ……. RA (b) When I feel this way, I am able to come to some sense of resolution in our relationship
  • A 15. I am aware of God responding to me in a variety of ways
  • I 16. I frequently feel that God is angry at me and punishing me
  • A 17. I am aware of God attending to me in times of need …
  • G 18. God seems to understand that my needs are more important than most people’s
  • D 19. (a). There are times when I feel angry at God …….. RA (b). When this happens, I still have the sense that God will always be with me
  • G 20. My relationship with God is an extraordinary one that most people would not understand
  • A 21. I have a good sense of the direction in which God is guiding me
  • D 22. There are times when I feel like God doesn’t come through for me
  • G 23. God’s way of dealing with other people does not apply to me
  • D 24. (a). There are times when I feel betrayed by God ….. RA (b). When I feel this way, I put effort into restoring our relationship
  • I 25. My emotional connection with God is very unstable …
  • I 26. No matter how hard I try to avoid them, I still experience many difficulties in my relationship with God
  • RA 27. When I sin, I still have a sense that God cares about what happens to me
  • I 28. I often worry that I will be left out of God’s plans
  • A 29. When I consult God about decisions in my life, I am aware of His direction and help
  • D 30. (a). There are times when I feel frustrated by God for not responding to my prayers RA (b). When I feel this way, I am able to talk it through with God
  • I 31. I often feel I have to please God or he might reject me.
  • D 32. (a). There are times when I feel like God has let me down completely broken
  • I often completely withdraw from God
  • G God recognizes that I am more spiritual than most people
  • I 35 . God does not seem to exist when I am not praying or reading/hearing the Bible
  • G 36. Manipulating God seems to be the best way to get what I want


Hall, T. W., & Edwards, K. J. (1996). The initial development and factor analysis of the Spiritual As­ sessment Inventory. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 24(3), 233-246.

Subsequent Research:

Due to the relatively recent development of this scale, no subse­ quent research has been reported.


Barry, W. A., & Connolly, W. J. (1982). The practice of spiritual direction. San Francisco: HarperCollins.

Bell, M. (1991). An introduction to the Bell Object Relations and Reality Testing Inventory. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.

Brokaw, B. F., & Edwards, K. J. (1994). The re­lationship of God image to level of object relations development. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 22, 352-371.

Carter, J. D., & Barnhurst, L. F. (1986). Matu­ rity, intimacy and spirituality. Paper presented at Midwest CAPS Convention, August 8- IO.

Conn, J. W. (1989). Spirituality and personal maturity. New York: Paulis! Press.

Edwards, J. (1986). Spiritual direction: A deli­ cate weaving of life and religious experience. Stud­ies in Formative Spirituality, 7, 177-191.

Hall, T. W., & Brokaw, B. F. (1995). The rela­tionship of spiritual maturity to level of object rela­ tions development and God image. Pastoral Psy­chology, 43, 373–0391.

Jones, J. W. (1991). Contemporary psycho-analysis and religion. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Pingleton, J. P. (1984). An integrative analysis of psychological and Christian concepts of rela­ tional maturity. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Rosemead School of Psychology Biota University, La Mirad.i, CA.

Shackelford, J. F. (1978). A comparison of psy­ chological and theological concepts of dependency. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Rosemead

School of Psychology, Biota University, La Mirada, CA. Tisdale, T., Brokaw, B., Edwards, K., & Key, T. (1993, August). Impact of Psychotherapy Treatment on Level of Object Relations Development, God Image, and Self-Esteem. In J. W. Jones (Chair), Va­ rieties of psychoanalytic research on religion. Sym­ posium conducted at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.