Typologies of adolescent religious orientation in relation to ego development, God concept, and social desirability

Julie S Reinhold, Pace University


The present investigation is an exploratory study designed to establish typologies of religious orientation in a population of adolescents from religious backgrounds. Additionally, the validity of these constellations has been explored in relation to ego development, God-concept, social desirability, and religious practices. A sample of 182 students from three Parochial schools and a Yeshiva, ranging in age from 14 to 18 years old, completed a series of scales measuring religious and psychological variables. A hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis of the subjects responses to the intrinsic and extrinsic scales of Age Universal Religious Orientation Scale - Revised, the consensual scale of the Religious Viewpoints Scale and the quest scale of the Religious Life Inventory resulted in a four cluster solution. These subgroups are identified as Observance, Foreclosed Intrinsic, Skeptical, and Anti-religious. These empirically derived subgroups were then compared on external validity measures including the Washington University Sentence Completion Test, the Crowne-Marlowe Social Desirability Scale, the Gorsuch Adjective Checklist, as well as measures of religious background and behaviors. Analysis of variance were performed on variables of ego development, social-desirability, God-concept, age, religious background and behavior. Chi Square Analysis was used to determine gender differences. Significant differences were found between subgroups on all criteria except gender and social desirability. Overall, the study indicates that adolescents have customary ways of integrating various dimensions of religious experience into their spiritual life in a manner that is consistent with typical adolescent psychological development. In terms of the religious orientation construct and it's measurement, the study demonstrates a more complex interaction of religious orientation dimensions than has previously been seen in the empirical literature. This finding supports the utility of a multi-dimensional approach to assessing the religious orientation construct and exposes limitations of the conventional four-fold classification system which utilizes only the intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Religion|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Reinhold, Julie S, "Typologies of adolescent religious orientation in relation to ego development, God concept, and social desirability" (1997). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9809595.



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