Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

pp 1117-1118

Intrinsic Religiousness (Religiosity)

  • Kevin S. MastersAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Colorado Email author 


Intrinsic religiousness (initially and still sometimes referred to as intrinsic religiosity) is characterized as religion that is an end in itself, a master motive. Thus, individuals described by intrinsic religiousness view their religion as the framework for their lives, and they try to consistently live the religion they believe. A prototypic intrinsic religiousness test item is “My whole approach to life is based upon my religion.”


Intrinsic 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 findings. The construct of religious orie ...

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