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J Pers. 2006 Oct;74(5):1257-92.

Spiritual but not religious? Evidence for two independent dispositions.

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Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.


Some psychologists treat religious/spiritual beliefs as a unitary aspect of individual differences. But a distinction between mysticism and orthodox religion has been recognized by scholars as well as laypersons, and empirical studies of "ism" variables and of "spirituality" measures have yielded factors reflecting this distinction. Using a large sample of American adults, analyses demonstrate that subjective spirituality and tradition-oriented religiousness are empirically highly independent and have distinctly different correlates in the personality domain, suggesting that individuals with different dispositions tend toward different styles of religious/spiritual beliefs. These dimensions have low correlations with the lexical Big Five but high correlations with scales (e.g., Absorption, Traditionalism) on some omnibus personality inventories, indicating their relevance for studies of personality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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