Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mark R. McMinn, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Kurt E. Free, Ph.D


Though scientific psychology once attempted to distance itself from religious constructs, times have changed. It now seems clear that the clinical practice of psychology involves metaphysics as well as science (O'donohue, 1989, Jones, 1994). Recent research also shows significant relationships between religion, spirituality and health (Hill and Pargament, 2003, Richards and Bergin, 2005). Yet the body of psycho logy and scholarship largely overlooks the study of sin. As a result, there is a shocking absence of measurement tools for research on perceptions of sin. What are the psychological implications of a Christian view of sin? Before studying the religious notion of sin, a suitable measurement tool needs to be developed. The purpose of this study is to assist in the examination of the psychometric properties and the continuation of the scale development for the final version of the Sin Awareness Scale (SAS). The final version of the SAS is analyzed with two samples: One involving Christian participants (N = 104) and another involving a large, religiously and ethnically diverse group (N = 1806). The results evidence sustained suppo11 for the structure of a 24-item tool with 6 subscales that demonstrated moderate to strong reliabilities, though one of the subscales demonstrates poorer reliability and construct validity than the other five subscales. Discriminant validity analyses revealed the SAS to measure a construct other than religious strain, shame and guilt. Finally, convergent validity analyses suggests that the SAS Grace from God subscale highly corresponds with religious comfort. Implications and limitations are discussed.