Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Dr. Janett Naylor
In the middle part of the twentieth century, Allport (1950) stated that the study of religion had “gone into hiding” (p.1). However, due largely to Allport’s seminal work in field, the study of religion blossomed. Batson and Ventis (1982) created a measure entitled the Religious Life Inventory based on their interpretation and critique of Allport and Ross (1967). The inventory categorized people as extrinsically, intrinsically, or quest oriented to their religion. These three orientations propose different ways that people use their religion. However, spirituality is not an inherent value system in everyone’s life (Allport, 1950). Therefore, the current study created three “societal” orientations to mirror Batson and Ventis’ (1982) spiritual orientations. The current research employed five measures to assess how people utilize their spiritual and societal values when they encounter an ambiguous scenario. These measures aimed to discriminate how people use these values in general versus situation-specific domains. Multiple regressions were conducted for the majority of data from the 235 participants. Results revealed findings that support Batson and Ventis’ (1982) conceptions of extrinsic, intrinsic, and quest orientations. Additionally, several findings support the idea that people can “cognitively contradict” themselves when asked about their values in a general way then asked to consider their values within a specific situation. This interpretation is similar to critiques of Kohlberg’s moral development theory. Additionally, it has implications for researchers and clinicians manipulating or reconstructing situations that people cognitively inhabit.
Copyright 2012 Joshua Tanguay
Tanguay, Joshua, "Societal And Spiritual Orientation: How People Interpret Ambiguous Situations" (2012). Master's Theses. 131.