Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


This study investigated the effect of faking (good and bad) on Spiritual Well-being (SWB) Scale scores. It is a true experiment with three levels of the independent variable: fake good, honest responding, and fake bad instructions. The sample consisted of 172 adults from a community church Sunday School class and a group for those overcoming some addiction and/or abuse. A demographic questionnaire was given along with the SWB Scale. An analysis of variance was run for each of the dependent measures: SWB and its two subscales, Religious Well-being (RWB) and Existential Well·being (EWB) . ANOVA and Scheffe post hoc test revealed a very significant difference between the fake bad treatment condition and the other two conditions, but no difference between honest responding and faking good. Results do not rule out the possibility of faking good on the scale as the ceiling to the SWB Scale is not high enough to distinguish honest responding of faking good. Two other questions were examined. First, would those higher in religious knowledge and experience be able to fake better on the RWB scale? Of seven religious variables, only leadership experience correlated with SWB and RWB under the fake good condition. Second, could several items be found on the SWB Scale which could comprise a faking good or validity scale? This question was abandoned as every RWB and EWB item significantly contributed to the results. SWB and both its subscales were significantly correlated with frequency of church attendance, Christian profession, religious knowledge and development, church leadership experience, and a social relationships variable dealing with liking to be alone. EWl3 was significantly correlated with financial condition. Individual decisions based on SWB scores in the upper range are not recommended. However, low scores may be more meaningful: the person is experiencing a low degree of well·being or wishes to appear low in well·being.

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