Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Further Evidence regarding the Validity of the Quest Orientation

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Further Evidence regarding the Validity of the Quest Orientation

Article excerpt

Using a sample of 190 religious adults, the Quest scale was factor analyzed and the emerging dimensions were related to other measures of both spirituality and personality. A three-factor solution accounting for approximately 55% of the total variance was obtained. The resulting structure varied from that initially hypothesized by the developers of the Quest scale. The Quest total score and Quest factor scores were correlated with spirituality factors obtained from a principal axis factor analysis of 10 spirituality scales. Observed relationships were relatively small. A canonical correlation analysis was conducted to examine the relationship of Quest factors to personality dimensions of the NEO-FFI. The dimension reduction analysis revealed that a single pair of canonical variates was statistically significant. Most of the relationship between a quest orientation and personality was associated with the personality dimension of openness. The implications of these findings in regard to the validity of the Quest scale as a measure of religious orientation are discussed.

The intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientations articulated by Allport (1950) and Allport and Ross (1967) and operationalized in the Religious Orientation Scale (ROS) have had a profound impact on our thinking and inquiry into matters of religiousness and spirituality (Donahue, 1985; Kosek, 1997). To clarify, an intrinsic religious orientation is characterized by an internalization of religious beliefs, i.e., one who is intrinsically religious lives their religion, and it is their master motive (Allport & Ross, 1967). Donahue (1985) suggested that an intrinsic orientation is an excellent indicator of religious commitment. By contrast, an extrinsic religious orientation is utilitarian in nature, i.e., one who is extrinsically religious is involved in religion for what they can get out of religion, e.g., security, social or business contacts, etc. An extrinsic orientation "does a good job of measuring the sort of religion that gives religion a bad name" (Donahue, 1985, p. 41 6). In Airport's early writings, he discussed a maturity-immaturity distinction associated with intrinsic and extrinsic orientations, respectively, that was not explicitly a part of his later formulations of these two religious orientations (Burris, 1999; Donahue, 1985). Allport (1950) described a mature religious sentiment as "I) well-differentiated; 2) dynamic in character in spite of its derivative nature; 3) productive of a consistent morality; 4) comprehensive; 5) integral; and 6) fundamentally heuristic" (pp. 64-65; as cited in Burris, 1999). This maturity component seemed to include an element of questioning and search for meaning. This was clearly the view of Batson and Ventis (1982) in their interpretation of Airport's work: "... mature religion involves a readiness to doubt and to be self-critical: 'The mature religious sentiment is ordinarily fashioned in the workshop of doubt'" (p. 149).

In 1976, Batson proposed the existence of a third religious orientation to capture this questioning element of religious sentiment not represented within either the intrinsic or extrinsic constructs, that of quest. In describing those with a quest orientation, Batson suggested such individuals tend to "view religion as an endless process of probing and questioning generated by the tensions, contradictions, and tragedies in their own lives and in society" (p. 32). Thus, individuals with a quest orientation view religious beliefs as a means for examining and potentially resolving fundamental life questions regarding meaning and purpose. The initial scale designed to tap Batson's third religious orientation was a six-item instrument called the Interactional Scale (Batson, 1976). This measure was subsequently revised, lengthening the instrument to 12 items and renaming it the Quest scale (Batson & Schoenrade, 1991b). Batson and Schoenrade (1991b) delineated three dimensions that included "readiness to face existential questions without reducing their complexity, self-criticism and perceptions of religious doubts as positive, and openness to change" (p. …

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