Democratizing access to the best data on religion since 1997

Archive Navigation

View Question Bank

Archive Categories

Sort the above Archive Category by:

Browse Alphabetically
Browse All Categories
Browse Newest Additions

File Summaries

Search Data Archive

Religious Life Inventory, 1988




The Computer Administered Panel Study (CAPS) collected demographic, personality, attitudinal, and other social psychological data from annual samples of University of North Carolina undergraduates from 1983 through 1988. Respondents spent 60 to 90 minutes per week for 20 weeks during the academic year answering questions via computer terminals. In their comparison of demographic and academic variables, researchers found few significant differences between respondents and the general undergraduate population. This dataset contains the Religion Life Inventory, which consists of three scales: External, Internal, and Interactional. Additional information about the survey can be found in the Odum Institute's electronic archive.

The ARDA has added two additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 93
Variables: 40
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Funded By

The Odum Institute for Research in Social Science

Collection Procedures

Each year of the study, a random sample of registered University of North Carolina undergraduates were invited to attend an orientation session about the project. From those who attended and signed up to participate, 96 (half males and half females) were chosen on the basis of scheduling compatibility. Each week for 20 weeks, respondents spent 60 to 90 minutes during the academic year answering questions via computer terminals. Respondents were paid a base rate of $4 to $5 per completed weekly session and an average of $2 per session more in rewards and bonuses, including a chance at a substantial end-or-year bonus designed to keep subject attrition low.

Data presented here are taken from 1986, 1987 and 1988. This information about the survey are taken from the Odum Institute's summary of the CAPS program.

Principal Investigators

The Odum Institute for Research in Social Science

Related Publications

C. Daniel Batson, Patricia Schoenrade, and W. Larry Ventis. 1993. Religion and the Individual: A Social-Psychological Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.


When citing this study, the following information should be included:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (insert study date(s)) Computer Assisted Panel Study (CAPS) [Computer file]. Chapel Hill: Institute for Research in Social Science [producer]. Module (insert name of specific CAPS module(s) here).

Notes: For SID

Because the subject's ID is derived from the CAPS year and a sequential number, respondents can be tracked for an entire year's worth of experiments. Datasets can also be merged using the respondent's ID. The original SID, as we received it from the primary investigator, had an underscore between the year and the ID number. The underscore was deleted to make the variable numeric, but the SID was not changed in any other way.


The Internal scale was designed to measure a component of the intrinsic, end orientation; the degree to which an individual's religion is a result of internal needs for certainty, strength, and direction. Building upon Hoffer's (1951) understanding of the true believer, the researchers assumed that these needs would reflect an intrinsic, end orientation, since this orientation seems to be based on a need to find firm and clear answers to existential questions. There are nine items in the Internal scale. Items scored positively are INNATE, GODSWILL, NECBELIF, DRVTRUTH, ESSNTIAL, and IMPSSNOT. NODIFRNC, NOTCMPLD and MUSTNOT are reverse coded.


The External Scale was designed to measure a component of the extrinsic, means orientation; the degree to which an individual's external social environment has influenced his or her personal religion. The researchers assumed that religion, as a response to social influence, would reflect an extrinsic, means orientation, since it would presumably be motivated by a desire to gain the self-serving, extrinsic end of social approval. Accordingly, this scale includes six items that assess the importance of authority figures and social institutions in shaping people's religious experience. These items are CHRCHDE, MINISTER, PARENTS, FELOWSHP, MODELS, which are scored positively, and OUTSDERS, which is reverse coded.


The interactional scale was designed to measure the basic component of the quest orientation; the degree to which an individual's religion involves an open-ended, responsive dialogue with existential questions raised by the contradictions and tragedies of life. There are six items on this scale. These items were designed to address the three aspects of Allport's concept of mature religion that were found to be missing from the Intrinsic and Committed scales: readiness to face existential questions without reducing their complexity (EVDAYEXP, INDEPDNT, LEARNREL), self-criticism and perception of religious doubts as positive (WRLDEVNT, YRSAGO), and openness to change (OTHOPNIN).

Our Sponsors

Our Affiliates

© 2024 The Association of Religion Data Archives. All rights reserved.