Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 883–900 | Cite as

Spiritual Openness, Revisiting a Potentially Important Aspect of Spirituality: Scale Review and Revision

  • Joshua C. Eyer
  • Shweta Kapoor
  • Martha A. Combs
  • Emberly M. Jay
  • Beverly E. Thorn
Original Paper


Religiousness and spirituality (R/S) exert important influences on individuals across a range of domains. Spiritual Openness is theoretically linked with the personality trait of Openness to Experience, suggesting promise for future research. Using responses from 366 undergraduates on the Spiritual Experience Index-Revised (SEI-R: subscales of Spiritual Openness and Spiritual Support), analyses evaluated and revised the SEI-R, deleting poor items and generating a 10-item measure. The new SEI-S exhibits better psychometric properties and reduced participant burden, and subscales displayed a curvilinear relationship in which increases in Spiritual Openness showed a trade-off in levels of Spiritual Support.


Spirituality Religiosity Spiritual Experience Index Spiritual Openness Openness to Experience 


  1. Allport, G. W., & Ross, J. M. (1967). Personal religious orientation and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 432–443. doi: 10.1037/h0021212.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Batson, C. D. (1976). Religion as prosocial: Agent or double agent? Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 15, 29–45. doi: 10.2307/1384312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonelli, R. M., & Koenig, H. G. (2013). Mental disorders, religion and spirituality 1990 to 2010: A systematic evidence-based review. Journal of Religion and Health, 52, 657–673. doi: 10.1007/s10943-013-9691-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Canada, A. L., Murphy, P. E., Fitchett, G., Peterman, A. H., & Schover, L. R. (2008). A 3-factor model for the FACIT-Sp. Psycho-Oncology, 17, 908–916. doi: 10.1002/pon.1307.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Costa, P. T., & MacCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO PI-R) and NEO five-factor inventory (NEO FFI): Professional manual. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  6. Csarny, R. J., Piedmont, R. L., Sneck, W. J., & Cheston, S. E. (2000). An evaluation of the incremental validity of the Spiritual Experience Index-Revised. In J. M. Greer & D. O. Moberg (Eds.), Research in the social scientific study of religion (Vol. 11, pp. 117–132). Stamford, CT: Jai Press.Google Scholar
  7. Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L., Jr., Hook, J. N., & Hill, P. C. (2013). Research on religion/spirituality and forgiveness: A meta-analytic review. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5, 233–241. doi: 10.1037/a0033637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Jager Meezenbroek, E., Garssen, B., van den Berg, M., Tuytel, G., van Dierendonck, D., Visser, A., et al. (2012a). Measuring spirituality as a universal human experience: Development of the spiritual attitude and involvement list (SAIL). Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 30, 141–167. doi: 10.1080/07347332.2011.651258.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. de Jager Meezenbroek, E., Garssen, B., van den Berg, M., van Dierendonck, D., Visser, A., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2012b). Measuring spirituality as a universal human experience: A review of spirituality questionnaires. Journal of Religion and Health, 51, 336–354. doi: 10.1007/s10943-010-9376-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Dein, S., Cook, C. C., & Koenig, H. (2012). Religion, spirituality, and mental health: Current controversies and future directions. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 200, 852–855. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b6dle.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Flora, D. B., & Curran, P. J. (2004). An empirical evaluation of alternative methods of estimation for confirmatory factor analysis with ordinal data. Psychological Methods, 9, 466–491. doi: 10.1037/1082-989X.9.4.466.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Gadermann, A. M., Guhn, M., & Zumbo, B. D. (2012). Estimating ordinal reliability for Likert-type and ordinal item response data: A conceptual, empirical, and practical guide. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 17(3), 1–13. Available online:
  13. Garssen, B., Visser, A., & de Jager Meezenbroek, E. (2012). Instruments measuring spirituality in clinical research. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27(4), 401. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1973-5.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Genia, V. (1990). Religious development: A synthesis and reformulation. Journal of Religion and Health, 29, 85–99. doi: 10.1007/BF00986404.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Genia, V. (1991). The Spiritual Experience Index: A measure of spiritual maturity. Journal of Religion and Health, 30, 337–347. doi: 10.1007/BF00986905.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Genia, V. (1997). The Spiritual Experience Index: Revision and reformulation. Review of Religious Research, 38, 344–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Giblin, P. R. (1997). Marital spirituality: A quantitative study. Journal of Religion and Health, 36, 333–344. doi: 10.1023/A:1027481125385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harcrow, M. S. (2010). Relationships between religiosity, spirituality, and health behaviors among college students. Doctoral dissertation, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL. Retrieved from Proquest Dissertations & Theses (AAT 3439814).Google Scholar
  19. Hayton, J. C., Allen, D. G., & Scarpello, V. (2004). Factor retention decisions in exploratory factor analysis: A tutorial on parallel analysis. Organizational research methods, 7(2), 191–205.Google Scholar
  20. Hill, P. C., & Pargament, K. I. (2008). Advances in the conceptualization and measurement of religion and spirituality: Implications for physical and mental health research. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, S(1), 3–17. doi: 10.1037/1941-1022.S.1.3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holgado-Tello, F. P., Chacón-Moscoso, S., Barbero-García, I., & Vila-Abad, E. (2010). Polychoric versus Pearson correlations in exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of ordinal variables. Quality & Quantity, 44, 153–166. doi: 10.1007/s11135-008-9190-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hooker, S. A., Masters, K. S., & Carey, K. B. (2013). Multidimensional assessment of religiousness/spirituality and health behaviors in college students. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. doi: 10.1080/10508619.2013.808870. (online).Google Scholar
  23. Johnstone, B., Yoon, D. P., Franklin, K. L., Schopp, L., & Hinkebein, J. (2009). Re-conceptualizing the factor structure of the brief multidimensional measure of religiousness/spirituality. Journal of Religion and Health, 48, 146–163. doi: 10.1007/s10943-008-9179-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Jöreskog, K. G. (2002a). Censored variables and censored regression. Karl’s Corner. Retrieved from
  25. Jöreskog, K. G. (2002b). Structural equation modeling with ordinal variables using LISREL. Karl’s Corner. Retrieved from
  26. Jöreskog, K. G., & Moustaki, I. (2006). Factor analysis of ordinal variables with full information maximum likelihood. Karl’s Corner. Accessed from
  27. Jöreskog, K. G., & Sörbom, D. (1996). LISREL 8 user’s reference guide. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International Inc.Google Scholar
  28. Koenig, H. G. (2012). Religion, spirituality, and health: The research and clinical implications. ISRN Psychiatry. doi: 10.5402/2012/278730. (online).Google Scholar
  29. Lawler, K. A., & Younger, J. W. (2002). Theobiology: An analysis of spirituality, cardiovascular responses, stress, mood, and physical health. Journal of Religion and Health, 41(4), 347–362. doi: 10.1023/A:1021126510680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lewis, L. M. (2008). Spiritual assessment in African-Americans: A review of measures of spirituality used in health research. Journal of Religion and Health, 47, 458–475. doi: 10.1007/s10943-007-9151-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Masters, K. S., Carey, K. B., Maisto, S. A., Caldwell, P. E., Wolfe, T. V., Hackney, H. L., et al. (2009). Psychometric examination of the brief multidimensional measure of religiousness/spirituality among college students. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 19, 106–120. doi: 10.1080/10508610802711194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miller, W. R., & Thoresen, C. E. (2003). Spirituality, religion, and health: An emerging research field. American Psychologist, 58, 24–35. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.58.1.24.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Monod, S., Brennan, M., Rochat, E., Martin, E., Rochat, S., & Bula, C. J. (2012). Spiritual assessment in clinical setting: The need for future research. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27, 402. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1974-4.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. Monod, S., Brennan, M., Rochat, E., Martin, E., Rochat, S., & Büla, C. J. (2011). Instruments measuring spirituality in clinical research: A systematic review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26, 1345–1357. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1769-7.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Paloutzian, R. F., & Ellison, C. W. (1982). Loneliness, spiritual well-being, and quality of life. In L. A. Peplau & D. Perlman (Eds.), Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research, and therapy (pp. 224–237). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  36. Pargament, K. I., Koenig, H. G., & Perez, L. M. (2000). The many methods of religious coping: Development and initial validation of the RCOPE. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 56, 519–543.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Peterman, A. H., Fitchett, G., Brady, M. J., Hernandez, L., & Cella, D. (2002). Measuring spiritual well-being in people with cancer: The functional assessment of chronic illness therapy–spiritual well-being scale (FACIT-Sp). Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 24, 49–58. doi: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2401_06.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Quandt, S. A., Verhoef, M. J., Arcury, T. A., Lewith, G. T., Steinsbekk, A., Kristoffersen, A. E., et al. (2009). Development of an international questionnaire to measure use of complementary and alternative medicine (I-CAM-Q). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(4), 331–339. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0521.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. Reinert, D. F., & Bloomingdale, J. R. (2000). Spiritual experience, religious orientation, and self-reported behavior. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10, 173–180. doi: 10.1207/S15327582IJPR1003_03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Reinert, D. F., & Smith, C. E. (1997). Childhood sexual abuse and female spiritual development. Counseling and Values, 41, 235–245. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-007X.1997.tb00405.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Roberts, J. S., Laughlin, J. E., & Wedell, D. H. (1999). Validity issues in the Likert and Thurstone approaches to attitude measurement. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 59, 211–233. doi: 10.1177/00131649921969811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Seybold, K. S., & Hill, P. C. (2001). The role of religion and spirituality in mental and physical health. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 21–24. doi: 10.1111/1467-8721.00106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sterling, E. W., Silke, A., Tucker, S., Fricks, L., & Druss, B. G. (2010). Integrating wellness, recovery, and self-management for mental health consumers. Community Mental Health Journal, 46, 130–138. doi: 10.1007/s10597-009-9276-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). New York, NY: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  45. Younger, J. W., Piferi, R. L., Jobe, R. L., & Lawler, K. A. (2004). Dimensions of forgiveness: The views of laypersons. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 21, 837–855. doi: 10.1177/0265407504047843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yu, C. Y. (2002). Evaluating cutoff criteria of model fit indices for latent variable models with binary and continuous outcomes. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved from
  47. Zumbo, B. D., Gadermann, A. M., & Zeisser, C. (2007). Ordinal versions of coefficients alpha and theta for Likert rating scales. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, 6(1), #4. Retrieved from (online).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua C. Eyer
    • 1
  • Shweta Kapoor
    • 2
    • 3
  • Martha A. Combs
    • 2
    • 4
  • Emberly M. Jay
    • 2
    • 5
  • Beverly E. Thorn
    • 2
  1. 1.Capstone College of NursingThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  3. 3.University of Texas Medical School at HoustonHoustonUSA
  4. 4.South Texas Veterans Health Care SystemSan AntonioUSA
  5. 5.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations