Empirical Approach to Typology of Religious Conversion
This study attempts to derive the empirically based typology of religious conversion by means of cluster analysis. The research sample consisted of 179 participants who defined themselves as converts. The participants were administered the Religious Conversion Process Questionnaire (RCPQ), which contains 50 items reflecting dominant aspects and theories of conversion. In the first phase of analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis of items was used to identify core dimensions of the questionnaire. The items were sorted into 14 clusters (e.g., positive emotions during conversion, meaning-searching process, influence of other people, long-term and calm conversion, etc.). In the second phase, a two-step cluster analysis (hierarchical cluster analysis optimized by non-hierarchical k-means cluster analysis) was used to determine the types of religious conversion. Five types were derived, some of them clearly corresponding to the conversion types identified in previous theoretical and empirical studies (e.g., compensatory conversion).