Further validation of the Sexual -Spiritual Integration Scale: Factor structure and relations to spirituality and psychological integration

by Wittstock, Joseph S., Ph.D., LOYOLA COLLEGE IN MARYLAND, 2009, 138 pages; 3378092


The universal developmental task of integrating sexuality into a fully functioning self is one that for spiritual people in general, and Christians in particular, includes integrating their sexuality with their spirituality. Christianity’s often ambivalent and sometimes negative attitudes towards the body and human sexuality can complicate this process. The development of the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale represents an attempt to provide an instrument to assess the degree to which this integration has occurred. In the pilot study this three-factor (Sexual Attitudes/Beliefs, Sexual Congruence/Incongruence, Sexual Awareness/Repression) 24-item scale was found to correlate with spirituality, and the Temperament and Character Inventory subscale, Self-directedness, but relatively independent of personality and religious involvement. This study was an attempt to further validate the responses to the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale and included attempting to reproduce a three-factor composition and assess the convergent and discriminant validity of the responses to the scale items. Participants were 237 female and 146 male adults whose ages ranged from 18 to 81and with the largest grouping (138) in the 18-29 range. More than half (58%) described themselves as spiritual and religious, 27% as spiritual but not religious, 10% as religious but not spiritual and, lastly, a sizeable minority (5%) considered themselves neither spiritual nor religious. Measures used were: the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale ( SSIS; Wittstock, Piedmont, & Ciarrocchi, 2007), the Embodied Spirituality Scale (ESS; Horn & Piedmont, 2002), the Sanctification of Sexuality Scale (SOSS; Swank, 2000; Murray-Swank, Pargament, & Mahoney, 2005), the Brief Sexual Attitudes Scale ( BSAS; Hendrick, Hendrick, & Reich, 2006), the Assessment of Spirituality and Religious Sentiments (ASPIRES; Piedmont, 2004), the Loving God and Controlling God Scale (LGCGS; Benson & Spilka, 1973), the Temperament and Character Inventory-Self-directedness Scale (TCI; Cloninger, Przybeck, Svrakic, & Wetzel, 1994), the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP; Goldberg, 1999), and the Bell Object Relations Inventory (BORRTI Form O; Bell, Billington, & Becker, 1986). The three-factor structure of the responses to the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale was replicated with reliability coefficients slightly higher than those obtained in the pilot study. The convergent validity of the responses to the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale was supported by their correlations with sexuality, spirituality, self-directedness and Object Relations. In addition, incremental validity assessment confirmed that the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale explained unique variance over and above personality, spirituality, and other measures of sexuality, in predicting outcomes for self-directedness and Object Relations. The results of this study indicated that the responses to the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale are assessing aspects of sexuality and spirituality not captured by existing measures of similar constructs (i.e., Embodied Spirituality Scale and the Sanctification of Sexuality Scale). And whereas the convergent validity of the responses to the scale has thus been demonstrated the discriminant validity of the responses to the scale remains to be established. These results together with the successful replication of the factor-structure of the Sexual-Spiritual Integration Scale suggest that its further development and validation are warranted.

AdviserRalph L. Piedmont
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsPastoral counseling; Counseling psychology; Quantitative psychology
Publication Number3378092

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