Validation for a Very Brief Measure of Religious Commitment for Use in Health Research

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Religious Commitment is a construct known to be predictive of various health-related factors of importance to researchers. However, data collection efficiency and instrument brevity in healthcare settings are priorities regardless of the construct being measured. Brief, valid instruments are particularly valuable in health research and will be vital for testing mechanisms by which health may be improved or maintained. This series of studies aims to demonstrate that Religious Commitment can be validly measured with a very brief instrument, the Religious Surrender & Attendance Scale-3 (RSAS-3), which combines a 2-item measure of Surrender, a specific type of religious coping, with a 1-item measure of Attendance at religious services. Three studies are reported, two utilizing undergraduate university students (Ns = 964 and 466) and one utilizing a clinical-based pregnant population (N = 320), all in southern Appalachia. The original 12-item Surrender Scale, a 2-item subset of Surrender items, and Attendance were found to be highly positively correlated with each other and with Intrinsic Religiosity, an additional measure of Religious Commitment employed to demonstrate concurrent validity. Religiosity variables were found to be strongly negatively correlated with Anxiety and stress, which were the health outcomes of interest. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to confirm the similarity of Anxiety and stress prediction using the 12-item and 2-item Surrender measures and to confirm the superior stress prediction of the 3-item instrument RSAS-3. The RSAS-3 is recommended as a measure of Religious Commitment in future health research.