Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 134–163

Measuring Religiousness in Health Research: Review and Critique

  • Daniel E. Hall
  • Keith G. Meador
  • Harold G. Koenig
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10943-008-9165-2

Cite this article as:
Hall, D.E., Meador, K.G. & Koenig, H.G. J Relig Health (2008) 47: 134. doi:10.1007/s10943-008-9165-2


Although existing measures of religiousness are sophisticated, no single approach has yet emerged as a standard. We review the measures of religiousness most commonly used in the religion and health literature with particular attention to their limitations, suggesting that vigilance is required to avoid over-generalization. After placing the development of these scales in historical context, we discuss measures of religious attendance, private religious practice, and intrinsic/extrinsic religious motivation. We also discuss measures of religious coping, wellbeing, belief, affiliation, maturity, history, and experience. We also address the current trend in favor of multi-dimensional and functional measures of religiousness. We conclude with a critique of the standard, “context-free” approach aimed at measuring “religiousness-in-general”, suggesting that future work might more fruitfully focus on developing ways to measure religiousness in specific, theologically relevant contexts.



Copyright information

© Blanton-Peale Institute 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel E. Hall
    • 1
    • 2
  • Keith G. Meador
    • 3
    • 4
  • Harold G. Koenig
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Health Equity Research and PromotionVA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Durham Veterans Affairs Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical CenterDurham Veterans Affairs Medical CenterDurhamUSA