Intro to testing
Schizotypal traits and dimensions of religiosity
Deborah Diduca and Stephen Joseph conducted an experiment to investigate the association between religiosity and schizophrenia. In the past it has been suggested that religiosity may be considered an aspect of schizophrenia. This is an important issue because if religiosity is an aspect of shizotypy/schizophrenic behavior, than religiosity could be a predisposing factor to schizophrenia. Past research has found an association between religiosity and schizophrenia but no strong correlation has ever been discovered and further research is suggested. Researchers have identified four main categories of religiosity: preoccupation, guidance, conviction, and emotional involvement. The study by Diduca and Joseph aimed at devising a scale to measure these aspects of religiosity, and to test each aspect for its relationship to schizophrenia.
The experiment consisted of 201 subjects ranging from 17 to 71 years old. The task of each subject was to fill out questionnaires regarding both schizotypal behavioral traits as well as religiosity. To assess schizotypal behavioral traits subjects filled out Claridge’s STQ, consisting of schizotypal personality (STA), and borderline personality (STB) scales. Subjects also completed Echblad and Chapman’s magical ideation (MgI) scale, which was used to identify magical or unstable thoughts common in schizophrenia. In addition in order to assess religiosity, respondents also completed the Francis Scale of Attitudes towards Christianity (FSAC), as well as four six-item scales devised for the present study to assess preoccupation, Guidance, conviction, and emotional involvement.
Higher scores on each of the four scales developed for the present study were associated with higher scores on the FSAC, thus confirming convergent validity. Correlations were computed for each of the religiosity scales and each of the schizotypal scales for men and women individually. For woman, there was no correlation between any of the religiosity scales and the schizotypal scales. However, for men there was a correlation between higher scores on the religious preoccupation scale and higher scores on the magical ideation scale. No other correlations were found.
The final result of the study was the discovery that no associations were found between the schizotypy scales and the FSAC. More importantly Diduca and Joseph discovered that there is a relationship between higher scores on the religious preoccupation scale and higher scores on the magical ideation scale for men. “These data suggest that multidimensional assessment of religiosity may be useful and that it is the dimension of religious preoccupation which may account for any association between religiosity and schizotypy.”(Diduca & Joseph, 1997, p.637) One possible explanation for the existing correlation for men and not women is genetics. Claridge & Hewitt, among others, suggest that schizotypy is under greater genetic control in men than women. Still, further research is required to show the relationship between schizophrenia and genetics. Recent research has also found the schizotypy concept to be composed of four aspects, characterized as aberrant perceptions and beliefs, cognitive disorganization, introvertive anhedonia (which is when a person lacks the ability to experience pleasure), and asocial behavior. Further work should be conducted to prove the relationship between these four aspects of schizophrenia and religiosity.
In conclusion, it is important to realize that there is a difference between religious experience and religiosity, and that this study does not look into religious experience. In the past, religious experience has been associated with schizophrenia and it would have been useful to look into whether or not religious experience leads to religious preoccupation. “It might be argued that there exists an assumption within much of the research community that religiosity is an aspect of schizotypal thinking.” (Diduca & Joseph, 1997, p.637) Still there is not enough evidence to prove the relationship between schizophrenia and religiosity and further research is suggested.
Diduca, D. and Joseph, S. (1997). Schizotypal traits and dimensions of religiosity. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 36, 635-639.