, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 438-457

Reliability and Validity of the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality Among Adolescents

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Abstract

Background Developed for use in health research, the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) consists of brief measures of a broad range of religiousness and spirituality (R/S) dimensions. It has established psychometric properties among adults, but little is known about its appropriateness for use with adolescents. Purpose We assessed the psychometric properties of the BMMRS among adolescents. Method We recruited a racially diverse (85% non-White) sample of 305 adolescents aged 12–18 years (median 16 yrs, IQR 14–17) from 3 urban medical clinics; 93 completed a retest 1 week later. We assessed internal consistency and test–retest reliability. We assessed construct validity by examining how well the measures discriminated groups expected to differ based on self-reported religious preference, and how they related to a hypothesized correlate, depressive symptoms. Religious preference was categorized into “No religion/Atheist” (11%), “Don’t know/Confused” (9%), or “Named a religion” (80%). Results Responses to multi-item measures were generally internally consistent (alpha ≥0.70 for 12/16 measures) and stable over 1 week (intraclass correlation coefficients ≥0.70 for 14/16). Forgiveness, Negative R/S Coping, and Commitment items showed lower internal cohesiveness. Scores on most measures were higher (p < 0.05) among those who “Named a religion” compared to the “No religion/Atheist” group. Forgiveness, Commitment, and Anticipated Support from members of one’s congregation were inversely correlated with depressive symptoms, while BMMRS measures assessing negative R/S experiences (Negative R/S Coping, Negative Interactions with others in congregation, Loss in Faith) were positively correlated with depressive symptoms. Conclusions These findings suggest that most BMMRS measures are reliable and valid for use among adolescents.

This study was presented in part at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 2006 Annual Meeting.