Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


In order to do empirical research on religious constructs, various testing instruments have been developed. Yet, many of the instruments developed have not been empirically tested for construct validity to see if they are actually fulfilling their stated purpose. One such instrument which has been developed is the Spiritual Maturity Index. It was the purpose of this study to do an empirical examination of the construct validity of this instrument. Pastors and seminary students from the Conservative Baptist denomination participated in a study to assess the capability of the Spiritual Maturity Index (SMI) in distinguishing levels of spiritual maturity. Also, an item level factor analysis of the combined SMI and the Spiritual Well-being Scale (SWB} was done to assess divergent validity. The results of the study indicated that the construct validity of the SMI was questionable when used on this sample. Correlational relationships between the subscales of the SWB scale and the SMI were very high. These high correlations suggested the possibility that the scales may be measuring the same construct. An item level factor analysis of the combination of the SMI and SWB scales suggested the possibility of one "general factor" being measured rather than the two separate constructs of spiritual well-being and spiritual maturity. Scree plots and two confirmatory factor analyses seemed to verify the initial findings. As a result of this study and the lack of others concerning the construct validity of the SMI, it was recommended that the present administration of the SMI be limited to research studies. These studies should examine the concept of spiritual maturity used by Ellison in the designing of the scale, revise the item pool, and broaden the sample from a restricted homogenous group to a more heterogeneous group.

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