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Religiosity Scales: What Are We Measuring in Whom?

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At least 177 scales are available to researchers who want to measure religiosity, but questions exist as to exactly what these scales are measuring and in whom they are measuring it. A review of these scales found a lack items designed to measure ethical action in society or the world as a prophetic response to the experience of the divine. Instead, the vast majority of scales focus on internal experiences and beliefs or institutional relationships. A review of scale norm groups found that norm groups often are not fully described, particularly in the area of race/ethnicity, and when they are described, they reveal an over-reliance on convenience samples of college students and an under-representation of racial/ethnic minority groups. Examples of scales with more fully described and more representative norm groups are given, and recommendations are offered for researchers using and developing religiosity scales.

Affiliations: 1: Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Waterloo, ON N2L 2C8;, Email:; 2: Boston University School of Theology


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