An exploratory study of the measurement of religion and spirituality using scale content analysis and epidemiological methods
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This study arose out of a search for a suitable scale to measure religion and spirituality. The literature suggests that religion and spirituality are potentially powerful explanatory variables in health and social research, but there do not appear to be any instruments that are generally accepted as measures of an individual's religious or spiritual characteristics. While a lack of consensus in such a complex area is probably to be expected, it is the lack of accepted measures or instruments that drives this study. The literature review describes the historical influence of religion on public health practices, and the most recently reported associations between religion and both physical and mental health. This establishes religion as a potentially useful construct to include in any health study. However, the reported association between religion and health is often unclear, and the measures used differ widely between studies. This study goes beyond the health context and explores the reasons why existing methods have not resulted in broadly accepted measures of religion and spirituality.
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