Development of a spiritual abuse questionnaire

Keller, Kathryn Hope
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Multicultural and trauma treatment competencies provide the rationale for this investigation as psychologists are charged with providing ethical and sound research and treatment embodying respect and understanding clients’ various cultural and religious experiences, particularly when negative experiences adversely impact their mental health. This study synthesized existing literature on spiritual abuse and drew from that literature in the creation of the Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire (SAQ). Participants were recruited through social media to complete the following questionnaires: (a) The SAQ, (b) the Religious and Spiritual Struggles Scale (RSS) (Exline, Pargament, Grubbs, & Yali, 2014), (c) the National Stressful Events Survey for PTSD-Short Scale (NSESS-PTSD) (Kilpatrick, Resnick, & Friedman, 2013), (d) the Institutional Betrayal Questionnaire Version 2 (IBQ.2) (Smith & Freyd, unpublished manuscript; Smith & Freyd, 2013; Smith & Freyd, 2014), and (e) the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, Form C (MCSD) (Reynolds, 1982). The original 49-item SAQ was examined through exploratory factor analysis in Study 1 (n = 535). Analysis from Study 1 resulted in shortening the SAQ to a 20-item scale, which was analyzed with a new sample in Study 2 (n = 271). It was predicted and confirmed that there would be a stable factor structure for spiritual abuse and that the SAQ would demonstrate appropriate convergent/divergent validity with other measures. Seventeen of the questions supported a two-factor structure of spiritual abuse. Further implications of spiritual abuse measurement and application are discussed.

Philosophy, religion and theology, Psychology, Education, Religious abuse, Religious trauma, Spiritual abuse, Spiritual abuse measure, Spiritual abuse scale, Spiritual trauma