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J Relig Health. 2008 Jun;47(2):134-63. doi: 10.1007/s10943-008-9165-2. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Measuring religiousness in health research: review and critique.

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Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Although existing measures of religiousness are sophisticated, no single approach has yet emerged as a standard. We review the measures of religiousness most commonly used in the religion and health literature with particular attention to their limitations, suggesting that vigilance is required to avoid over-generalization. After placing the development of these scales in historical context, we discuss measures of religious attendance, private religious practice, and intrinsic/extrinsic religious motivation. We also discuss measures of religious coping, wellbeing, belief, affiliation, maturity, history, and experience. We also address the current trend in favor of multi-dimensional and functional measures of religiousness. We conclude with a critique of the standard, "context-free" approach aimed at measuring "religiousness-in-general", suggesting that future work might more fruitfully focus on developing ways to measure religiousness in specific, theologically relevant contexts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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