APA Symposium: The Meaning and Implications of a Religious/Spiritual Mindset in an International Stu

Meaningful Existence (ME) Scale Symposium

APA 2019: August 8-11, Chicago, IL

Type of program: Symposium

Title: The Meaning and Implications of a Religious/Spiritual Mindset in an International Study

Proposal ID:

Two Subject Index Terms: 58 Religion and Spirituality,

Division Sponsor: Division 36 (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality)


Kevin A. Harris, PhD, LP, HSP, drkevinaharris@gmail.com, Department of Psychology, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, 4901 E. University, MB 3114, Odessa, TX 79762, APA Member


Steven E. Handwerker, PhD, Ddiv, peacewk@peacewk.org, The International Association for the Advancement of Human Welfare, Inc., 103 South Beach Rd, South Burlington, VT 05403, APA Member

Brief Content Description: (to appear in online mobile versions of the Convention Program)

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A 300-word general summary


( words)

CE Learning Objectives:

(1) The participant will be able to describe two statistical outcomes from the data analyses.

(2) The participant will be able to describe one implication of the results in relation to its spiritual context.

A 300-word summary of each participant’s contribution.

Participants, in order of presentation: Names, highest educational degree, institution/business information, email and complete mailing address, titles of contributions, and membership status (including APAGS membership).

Measuring Meaningful Existence in Chinese and Taiwanese Citizens

Chun-Han Chen, PhD, alchen990@yahoo.com.tw, Jilin Normal University, 1301 Haifeng St., Siping City, Jilin Province 136000, China, APA Member

This research was based on the empirical study with the survey of the Meaningful Existence scale on the participants from Taiwan and mainland China. The Meaningful Existence (ME) scale was set to test the four constructs in latent space: (1) religiousness (2) spirituality (3) sacred and (4) faith. In total, 72 Taiwanese and 75 Chinese participants took this scale of ME, which were translated into Traditional Chinese (for Taiwanese), and Simplified Chinese (for Chinese) accordingly. This scale initiated its empirical grounding in Asia population. This research particularly focused on testing how religious faith had developed and shaped the daily spirituality and religiosity in minds of citizen in Taiwan and China. This scale of ME had the assumed four factors in latency, and this kind of scale about religious mind and spirituality is still rarely tested in Asia population. From the cross-loadings within the models, these four latent constructs were shown to overlapping to one another. It means to Taiwanese and Chinese participants, reading the translated items resulted in some overlapping understanding when the deep meaning of the constructs under the items were read. Especially, Taiwanese participants, who relied on the Traditional Chinese, had more cross-loadings. From the factor analysis, the subscales representing religiousness, spirituality, and sacred were in strong pattern in Taiwanese, while only the religiousness and spirituality factors were stable in China. The differences in reading language (Traditional Chinese vs. Simplified Chinese) may connect to different responses with the unique patterns of factors behind. From the discriminant function analysis, Taiwanese participants were more likely to endorse the religiosity and follow items suggesting that the society of Taiwan accepts more practice of religious rituals. From the logistics and regression analysis, the Chinese population reported relatively higher positive result due to a religious focus. (293 words)

Religiosity, Spirituality, Faith, and the Sacred in an International Setting

Eric Boorman, MA, PhD Candidate, erboo1@morgan.edu, Morgan State University, 1700 E. Cold Spring Ln, Baltimore, MD 21251, APAGS

While religiosity and spirituality are frequently understood and assessed within Western cultures such as the United States, less is known about the nature of these constructs within Asian cultures such as Taiwan and China. Despite this gap in the research literature, a 4-factor solution comprising religiosity, spirituality, faith, and the sacred, can be proposed. These four elements are expected to be heavily interrelated and strongly correlated with one another. The Meaningful Existence scale is a 18 item measure designed to assess the manifestation of these latent traits within Taiwanese and Chinese participants. This instrument was tested on two different samples of Chinese and Taiwanese individuals to further explore the nature of these constructs as well as to assess any potential differences within these samples. Data was factor analyzed using Maximum Likelihood estimation and Promax rotation as the factors were assumed to be strongly correlated. While a four-factor solution emerged representing religiosity, spirituality, faith and the sacred, there was considerable cross-loading between items whereby many items assessed multiple different factors. Additionally, the composition of these constructs varied across cultures where Chinese individuals saw religiosity as more organizational and God as more supernatural. To further explore the differences between how these cultures, view these constructs, discriminant function analysis and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Though the assumptions of the discriminant function analyses were not met, one significant discriminant function emerged where Taiwanese participants saw these constructs as a critical nexus in life while Chinese participants saw these constructs in very immaterial ways. Logistic regression analysis revealed that Taiwanese participants saw these constructs as related to organized religion while Chinese participants saw these constructs in more affective ways. As such, these constructs do appear to manifest as unique but highly related latent traits, though there are considerable differences between these cultures. (298 words)

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