Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Chun-Shin Taylor, Marion E. Toscano, Ralph L. Piedmont, Ph.D.

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A cross-cultural application of the ASPIRES: A comparative exploratory study of religion and spirituality predicting psychological outcome between the Asians and non-Asians in the U.S.

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The influence of Eastern traditions into Western societies has created more complex and intricate dynamics for understanding spirituality and religion in the global community. Hwang (2009) contended that in order to meet the needs of diverse cultural groups, cross-cultural psychology needs models that bridge Eastern and Western cultural traditions. In order to capture this movement, a plethora of spiritual and religious assessment scales have been developed and utilized. However, the non-consensual definition of spirituality across these scales and the lack of sound psychometric properties has created ambiguity and skepticism regarding the ability of measures to accurately capture spiritual dimension of human functioning across cultures (Kapuscinski & Masters, 2010; Piedmont, 2010).

Piedmont (2010) developed an empirically driven spiritual assessment, the Assessment of Spirituality and Religious Sentiment (ASPIRES) scale that captures universal dimensions of spirituality, which is defined as an intrinsic motivational drive to create ultimate meaning. The ASPIRES is unique in its cross-cultural generalizability and non-denominational application to reflect universal experience of spirituality. Cross-cultural research using the ASPIRES in numerous cultures (e.g., in Czech Republic, Hungary, Philippines, India, and Korea; Piedmont, 2010) has supported its ability to reflect a universal aspect of spirituality. However, none of the studies have been performed with Asians within the US. The purpose of this study is to add to this developing cross-cultural literature by demonstrating the universal psychological nature of spirituality and its ability to predict psychological outcomes between the Asian and non-Asian living in US.

The study includes 984 participants (male =469, female=515), with an average age of 36.02 years (range 18 to 77). The sample consists of Atheist/Agnostic (N=327), Catholic (N=182), Other Christian (N=144), Baptist (N=101), and Other Faith Groups, including Buddhist, Jewish, Methodist, Muslim, and Mormon (N=230). For the purpose of this study, the sample was divided into Asians (N=60) and non-Asians (N=924). Participants were given a battery of assessments: a personality inventory IPIP 50(Goldberg, 1992), Delighted-Terrible Scale (Andrews & Withey, 1976), Purpose in Life Test (Crumbaugh, 1968), Affect Balance Scale (Bradburns, 1969), and the ASPIRES (Piedmont, 2010).

Results: The ASPIRES demonstrated the acceptable Alpha reliabilities, ranging from .47 to .95 for Asians. The factor structure was recoverable within both groups with the exception of Connectedness with Asians. The ASPIRES was useful in predicting all outcomes with an exception of Affect Balance Scale for Asians.

Discussion: The ASPIRES scales were found to be reliable with Asians although the factor structure was not completely recovered. This may be a function of the relatively small sample size. Nonetheless, scores on the ASPIRES did evidence significant incremental validity in predicting the psychosocial outcomes.

References:

Andrews, F.M., & Withey, S.B. (1976). Social indicators of well-being: American’s perceptions of life quality. New York: Plenum.

Bradburn, N.M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Chicago, IL: Aldine.

Crumbaugh, J. (1968). Purpose-In-Life Test. Journal of Individual Psychology, 24, 74-81.

Goldberg, L. R. (1992). The development of markers for the Big-Five factor structure. Psychological Assessment, 4, 26–42.

Hwang, K. (2009). The development of indigenous counseling in contemporary Confucian communities, The Counseling Psychologist, 37 (7), 930-943.

Kapuscinski, A. N., & Masters, K. S. (2010). The current status of measures of spirituality: A critical review of scale development. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2, 191-205. doi:10.1037/a0020498

Piedmont, R. L. (2010). Assessment of Spirituality and Religious Sentiments, Technical Manual 2nd Ed. Timonium, MD: Author.