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Psychometric difficulties in the study of religiosity and death anxiety

14 April 2006


Errors in the areas of definitions, measurement, and methodology mar the current religiosity and death anxiety literature due to the complexity of the constructs being measured. The lack of use of clear operational definitions for the terms and constructs surrounding religiosity and death anxiety results in confusion regarding the validity of the constructs being studied. Many researchers have relied on face validity to construct inventories without performing the statistical analysis needed to ascertain the construct validity of the inventories. The use of homogenous convenience samples has limited the generalizability of much of the resulting research. When researchers used heterogeneous samples, diversity variables (i.e., gender, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, culture, and religious orientation) and situational variables (i.e., proximity to a warfront) clearly impacted the relationship between death anxiety and religiosity. Clinical implications regarding diversity variables are discussed in addition to the universal fear of a painful death.


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