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Temporal stability of the Francis Scale of attitude toward Christianity among 9 to 11 year old English children: test retest data over six weeks

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Test-retest data over one week1

Christopher Alan Lewis Sharon Mary Cruise School of Psychology

University of Ulster at Magee College

Conor Mc Guckin

Department of Psychology Dublin Business School of Arts

Running head: Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity

1Address correspondence to Dr Christopher Alan Lewis, School of Psychology,

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Summary.- This study evaluated the test-retest reliability of the Francis Scale of Attitude

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Over the last twenty-five years, there have been more than two hundred published studies examining the measurement, correlates, and consequences of variation of attitude toward Christianity among children, adolescents, and adults (see Kay & Francis, 1996). At the centre of this work has been the 24-item Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity (Francis & Stubbs, 1987). Subsequently, Francis, Greer, and Gibson (1991) developed a 7-item short-form of the scale, intended to be a replacement for the full version when administration time is short. This short-form has demonstrated good psychometric properties, including high internal consistency (Lewis, 2001), a one-factor structure (Lewis, Shevlin, Lloyd, & Adamson, 1998), high positive correlations with attitudinal and behavioural measures of religiosity (Maltby & Lewis, 1997), and is not affected by social desirability (Lewis, 1999, 2000).

To date no information on the test-retest reliability of this measure has been

reported. Hill and Hood (1999), in their review of measures in the psychology of religion,

noted: “Test-retest reliabilities are not common in this area, despite their obvious value in

identifying stable scores over time” (p. 7). Exceptions include data reported on the

stability of the Duke Religion Index (Storch, Strawser, & Storch, 2004), the Religious

Commitment Inventory-10 (Worthington et al., 2003), and the Systems of Belief

Inventory (SBI-15R; Holland et al., 1998). The present aim was to evaluate the one-week

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Sample

Thirty-nine students (5 male and 34 female) with a mean age of 27.4 years (SD = 10.0), all in attendance at the University of Ulster at Magee College, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, enrolled on a course in psychology, were employed as respondents.

Measure

The Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity short-form is concerned with attitude towards the Bible, prayer, church, God, and Jesus, a sample question being ‘I know that Jesus helps me’ (Item 1). It is scored on a five-point scale ranging from ‘agree strongly’ (5) through ‘uncertain’ (3) to ‘disagree strongly’ (1). Scores range from 7 to 35, with higher scores on the scale indicating a more positive attitude toward Christianity. A satisfactory level of internal consistency has been reported in Northern Ireland among university undergraduate students (.90; Maltby & Lewis, 1997).

Procedure

The short-form was completed during class-time on two occasions separated by a period of one week as part of a practical class. Participants recorded their names and age but were assured of confidentiality, and participation was voluntary. None of the class declined to participate, and no credit was given for completing the questionnaires on either occasion. The participants were not informed that the measure would be readministered.

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Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity short-form at both Time 1 (Cronbach’s alpha = .91) and Time 2 (Cronbach’s alpha = .93). Scores on the scale for Time 1 and Time 2 were highly associated (r = .92). No significant difference was found in the mean scores (t = -2.43, df = 38, ns) between Time 1 (M = 25.2, SD = 5.4, range 14-35) and Time 2 (M = 25.7, SD = 6.2, range 12-35).

DISCUSSION

The present data provide evidence of the test-retest reliability over a one week period of the Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity short-form among a sample of Northern Irish university students. Furthermore, satisfactory levels of internal reliability were also found, in line with previous research (e.g., Lewis, 2001). Though the generalisability of these findings is limited due to the small sample size, the selectivity of the sample (i.e., university students, mainly female), and the small length of the testing period, the short-form does appear temporally stable. These findings provide additional psychometric evidence that attest to the reliability of the measure. Further research is required to examine the stability of the Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity short-form among large and more representative samples and over longer testing periods.

REFERENCES

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Christianity among adults. Psychological Reports, 72, 615-618.

FRANCIS, L. J., GREER, J. E., & GIBSON, H. M. (1991) Reliability and validity of a short measure of attitude toward Christianity among secondary school pupils in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Collected Original Resources in Education, 15(3), fiche 2, G09.

FRANCIS, L. J., & STUBBS, M. T. (1987) Measuring attitudes towards Christianity: from childhood to adulthood. Personality and Individual Differences, 8, 741–743. HILL. P. C., & HOOD, R. W. (1999) Measures of religiosity. Birmingham, AL.:

Religious Education Press.

HOLLAND, J. C., KASH, K. M., PASSIK, S., GRONERT, M. K., SISON, A.,

LEDERBERG, M., RUSSAK, S. M., BAIDER, L., & FOX, B. (1998) A brief

spiritual beliefs inventory for use in quality of life research in life-threatening

illness. Psychooncology, 7, 460-469.

KAY, W. K., & FRANCIS, L. J. (1996) Drift from the churches: attitude toward Christianity during childhood and adolescence. Cardiff, Wales: Univ. of Wales

Press.

LEWIS, C. A. (1999) Is the relationship between religiosity and personality ‘contaminated’ by social desirability as assessed by the Lie Scale?: a

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social desirability: a response to Michael W. Eysenck (1999). Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 3, 39-45.

LEWIS, C. A. (2001) Cultural stereotype of the effects of religion on mental health. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 74, 359-367.

LEWIS, C. A., & MALTBY, J. (2000) The Francis Scale of Attitude Toward Christianity (Adult – Version: Short-Scale). In J. Maltby, C. A. Lewis, & A. Hill (Eds.),

Commissioned reviews of 250 psychological tests: Vol. 1. Wales, UK: Edwin

Mellen Press. Pp. 301-306.

LEWIS, C. A., SHEVLIN, M. E., LLOYD, N. S. V., & ADAMSON, G. (1998) The Francis Scale of Attitude Toward Christianity (short-scale): exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis among English students. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 13, 167-175.

MALTBY, J., & LEWIS, C. A. (1997) The reliability and validity of a short scale of attitude towards Christianity among USA, English, Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 22, 649-654. STORCH, E. A., STRAWSER, M. S., & STORCH, J. B. (2004) Two-week test-retest

reliability of the Duke Religion Index. Psychological Reports, 94, 993-994. WORTHINGTON, E. L., JR., WADE, N. G., HIGHT, T. L., RIPLEY, J. S.,

McCULLOUGH, M. E., BERRY, J. W., SCHMITT, M. M., BERRY, J. T.,

BURSLEY, K. H., & O’CONNOR, L. (2003) The Religious Commitment

Inventory-10: development, refinement, and validation of a brief measure for

References

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