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The development of scales for the assessment of religious belief and spirituality in Roman Catholic believers, their validation and relevance for mental health in circumstances of traumatic bereavement on September 11th 2001

Lecca, Anna Grazia (2009) The development of scales for the assessment of religious belief and spirituality in Roman Catholic believers, their validation and relevance for mental health in circumstances of traumatic bereavement on September 11th 2001 University of Southampton, School of Psychology, Doctoral Thesis , 370pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


Substantive understanding of religious belief hasn’t been explored within Catholicism. The study first investigates multi-faceted aspects of individual religious experience by the development of psychometric scales assessing sensitiveness to Catholicism, contents of Catholic belief and strength of adherence to them, and religiousness in the Catholic domain as a means for establishing, keeping, and improving a personal relationship with God, which is described as a mutual interaction. Scales were developed after conducting exploratory studies and thematic analysis, and finally tested in a sample of 470 individuals with a Catholic background. Developed scales are: ‘The Attitude toward Catholicism Scale’, ‘The Self-Evaluation Scale of Adherence to the Creed of the Roman Catholic Church’ and ‘The Mutuality Evaluation Scale of the Personal Relationship with God’. These scales are useful instruments for the assessment of religious belief in Catholic individuals especially when mental health outcomes need to be investigated in connection to practical aspects of religious belief. The role of religious belief in practice, bereavement resolution, and mental health are further aspects of the study conducted in New York in a sample of 42 Catholic bereaved individuals who lost their spouse in the WTC disaster. Although done retrospectively, the research focuses on the assessment of religious belief in Catholic bereaved individuals involved in the World Trade Center disaster prior to the attack. Moreover, while in the process of mourning, re-evaluation of religious experience, religious forgiveness described as a motivational transformation, and religious coping were also investigated. Aspects connected to a re-evaluation of the religious experience, the usage of religious strategy of coping, and religious forgiveness were explored in relation to the constructive significance given to religious belief, which was also explored in relation to resolution of bereavement, depression, and life satisfaction. Mechanisms of religious coping were analysed as transformation of significance and measured with the ‘Religious vs. Non Religious Coping Scale’. Religious transformation was assessed by the ‘Re-evaluation of the Religious Experience Scale’. Religious forgiveness was measured with the ‘Scale of Religious Forgiveness’. These above three scales were developed for the purpose of this study according to the particular features of the participants of the New York sample. Resolution of bereavement, levels of depression, and life satisfaction were mainly explored by conducting linear and multiple regressions in relation to different factors that emerged from factor analysis of the new developed scales. Results significantly supported the conceptualisation that constructive religious experience operates as a motivational phenomenon in promoting psychological well-being.

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Published date: September 2009
Organisations: University of Southampton


Local EPrints ID: 71773
PURE UUID: 91e77673-cd82-4423-b3f7-103bd8758c40

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Date deposited: 22 Dec 2009
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:58

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Author: Anna Grazia Lecca
Thesis advisor: Peter Coleman

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