Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Extrinsic Religiousness (Religiosity)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1582


Extrinsic religiousness (initially and still sometimes referred to as extrinsic religiosity) is characterized as religion that primarily serves other more ultimate ends rather than central religious beliefs per se. Thus, individuals described by extrinsic religiousness use their religion to fulfill more basic needs such as social relations or personal comfort, but “the embraced creed is lightly held or else selectively shaped to fit more primary needs” (Allport & Ross, 1967, p. 434).


Extrinsic religiousness was first described by Gordon Allport and colleagues in the 1960s (see Allport & Ross, 1967) when investigating the possible reasons for discrepant findings in the area of religiousness and prejudice. At that time, some studies demonstrated that religiousness was positively associated with prejudice, whereas other studies found the opposite. Allport hypothesized that one’s religious orientation, or sentiment, may provide guidance in sorting out these...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Allport, G. W., & Ross, J. M. (1967). Personal religious orientation and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 432–443.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cohen, A. B., Pierce, J. D., Jr., Chambers, J., Meade, R., Gorvine, B. J., & Koenig, H. G. (2005). Intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity, belief in the afterlife, death anxiety, and life satisfaction in young Catholics and Protestants. Journal of Research in Personality, 39, 307–324.Google Scholar
  3. Gorcush, R. L., & McPherson, S. E. (1989). Intrinsic/extrinsic measurement: I/E-revised and single-item scales. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 28, 348–354.Google Scholar
  4. Gorsuch, R. L. (1994). Toward motivational theories of intrinsic religious commitment. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 33, 315–325.Google Scholar
  5. Kirkpatrick, L. A. (1989). A psychometric analysis of the Allport-Ross and Feagin measures of intrinsic- extrinsic religious orientation. In D. O. Moberg and M. L. Lynn (Eds.), Research in the social scientific study of religion, 1, (pp. 1–31). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kirkpatrick, L. A., & Hood, R. W., Jr. (1990). Intrinsic-extrinsic religious orientation: The boon or bane of contemporary psychology of religion? Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 29, 442–462.Google Scholar
  7. Masters, K. S. (1991). Of boons, banes, babies, and bath water: A reply to the Kirkpatrick and Hood discussion of intrinsic-extrinsic religious orientation. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 30, 312–317.Google Scholar
  8. Masters, K. S., & Bergin, A. E. (1992). Religious orientation and mental health. In J. F. Schumaker (Ed.), Religion and mental health (pp. 221–232). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Masters, K. S., Hill, R. D., Kircher, J. C., Lensegrav-Benson, T. L., & Fallon, J. A. (2004). Religious orientation, aging, and blood pressure reactivity to interpersonal and cognitive stressors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 28, 171–178.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Masters, K. S., & Knestel, A. (2011). Religious orientation among a random sample of community dwelling adults: Relations with health status and health relevant behaviors. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 21, 63–76.Google Scholar
  11. McCullough, M. E., & Willoughby, B. L. B. (2009). Religion, self-regulation, and self-control: Associations, explanations, and implications. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 69–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Smith, T. B., McCullough, M. E., & Poll, J. (2003). Religiousness and depression: Evidence for a main effect and the moderating influence of stressful life events. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 614–636.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ColoradoDenverUSA