Research Article | Open Access

Translation and Validation of Religious Attitude Scale: Role of Demographic Variables

    Hamna Ayub

    National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

    Nelofar Kiran Rauf

    National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

    Saira Khan

    National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

17 Jul, 2019
14 Jan, 2020
31 Mar, 2020

The study aimed to translate the Religious Attitude Scale (RAS; Onay, 2000) into Urdu language and established its construct validity in Pakistani culture. Moreover, the relationship of different demographic variables (i.e., age, income, gender, family system) with religious attitude of parents was also explored. The study comprised of two phases: Phase I of the study constituted translation of the original English version of RAS into Urdu language using forward and back translation method. In phase II, the construct validity of RAS was established through Exploratory Factor Analysis and psychometric properties of RAS were determined. A sample (N = 264) of parents comprising mothers (n = 133) and fathers (n = 131) with age range of 26 to 52 years (M = 34.74, SD = 6.0) participated in the study. Results showed that RAS has two factors namely Positive Religious Attitudes and Negative Religious Attitudes. Psychometric properties of the scale were satisfactory. Findings showed that religious attitudes had positive relationship with age; while, were negatively associated with income. Findings revealed nonsignificant differences across gender of the parents on religious attitudes; whereas, individuals belonging to nuclear families had significantly lower religious attitudes than those from joint family system. Future implications were also discussed.

Religion provides society with a broader identification of their groups and the values and norms of the particular belief system. The value placed by society on religion is of interest to measure the religious attitudes. The purpose of understanding the religious attitudes is to study it from a social, psychological, and religious perspective. The concept emerged as a construct/frame which takes into account the process involved in maintaining and shaping the religious beliefs, perception, and behaviors (Lawson & Garrod, 1999; Pennington, 1993; Rakodi, 2019).

The Religious Attitude Scale (RAS; Onay, 2000) aims to evaluate the religious attitudes of individuals in terms of affective, behavioral, and cognitive constructs. It considers the social psychological perspectives and theories concerning religion. Initially, it was used by Onay (1997) to examine the relationship between test anxiety and religious attitudes among young adults, and to investigate the relationship between the services of Diyanet (Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs) and religious attitudes in Erzincan (city in Turkey). Therefore, RAS is a measure which facilitates the individual to evaluate their level of religious attitudes comprising of affective, behavioral, and cognitive dimensions. It measures the religious beliefs and behaviors which are rooted in the lives of individuals and the anticipations one has from God. The RAS assumes that for an individual to be religious, one should have a sound belief in God, abide by and conform to the religious duties, and have a belief that God will reward in this manner. On contrary, an ignorance of religious duties results in punishment or one seeks forgiveness from God (Onay, 2000).

The intention was to measure the religious attitudes and there are other questionnaires which are utilized for this purpose. The RAS was selected for the translation among the other available measures of religious attitudes as other measures of religious attitudes focused only on the behaviors to evaluate the value of religion in their lives. For instance, the attendance in service prayers in worship places, the number of prayers they offer, and scoring on the importance of religion in one’s life (Francis, Brockett, & Village, 2013). Most of the available religious attitude questionnaires focused mainly on Christianity and only a few were available primarily for Muslims till the last decade. Qualitative measures to evaluate the religious attitudes of Muslims also questioned their attendance in mosque, one’s view regarding why people chose to visit the religious places, spiritual experiences, life hereafter, and if they have any different prayers (Kelly, Pagano, Stout, & Johnson, 2011). Additionally, the Religious Attitude Scale by Adinarayan and Rajamanickman (1962) and Kajavinthan (2015) covered the dimensions related to the evaluation of a person regarding the nature of God, the spiritual world, future expectations in life, personal and formal religion. Similarly, the OK-Religious Attitude Scale for Muslims (Ok, 2016) was also developed and it attempted to measure cognitive, relational, emotional, and behavioral dimensions. These questionnaires lacked focus in evaluating the basic religious attitudes, rather these are more oriented towards the fulfilment of religious duties and rituals. Although, the OK-Religious Attitude Scale (Ok, 2016) was a good measure, but it only had two items each for evaluating its four subscales which do not provide with evidence of measuring the dimensions in a broader manner. Therefore, the RAS by Onay (2000) was the appropriate measure to translate, which has items consistent with the Muslim culture in Pakistan and it also evaluates the religious attitudes on affective, behavioral, and cognitive dimensions. Originally, the questionnaire was available in English language, so to develop an understanding in the language and culture of Pakistan, the questionnaire was translated to Urdu language.

RAS (Onay, 2000) has been utilized in a number of prior researches providing a credible instrument with sound psychometrics for the measurement of religious attitudes (Joseph, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 2009; Kuzgun & Sevim, 2004; Murphy & Davidshofer, 2016; Onay, 2000; Tabachnick & Fidel, 1996).

The findings of past empirical researches have provided evidence that the religious attitudes of women and men are different, with women having more scores on religious attitudes (Gallup, 2008; Hay, 2012). However, men have been reported as having more religious attitudes than women in Turkey (Bacanh, 2009; Koktas, 2013; Kostas, 2015; Uysal, 2017). Considering these contradictory findings, it is interesting to investigate the gender trends in religious attitudes in Pakistan. The change in trend of educating women has been observed as today parents are keen towards educating their daughters, rather than confining to the home. Although, still parents do not consider educating their daughters, while others only prefer the institute without co-educating. Choice to wear headscarf is still an issue of conflict among parents, students, and the school administration (Kuczynski & Navara, 2006; Roest, Dubas, & Gerris, 2010).

Linkage between religious attitudes and age has not received attention in the Asian culture by social scientists. Limited studies have considered investigating the religious attitudes on a broader context among different age groups. Studies have quoted that elder adults have more positive religious attitudes than young generation. A decline in the religious attitudes has been observed in adolescence, young adulthood, and till the age of 30 years (Francis & Brown, 2017; Francis & Stubbs, 2004; Spilka, Hood, & Gorsuch, 2015).

Religion holds a defining and central role in the lives of people, because it is the basic unit of organization and maintaining harmony in the society. Family also serves as a social organization which has an internalized structure set by society for the religious beliefs (Das & Kemp, 2017). Parents inspire religious attitudes and values in their children and the children take on these attitudes from parents to serve as guide in their life. Orientation towards religious attitudes is higher in the data from joint families as compared to the nuclear families as family serves as the source of fulfilment of religious duties and obligations (Harker, 2001; Hodge, 2004; Sodowsky & Carey, 2003). Furthermore, these findings are also reported by Takeda et al. (2004) who found that the settings in joint family acts as a source of social support, rewards, control, and power in the family with a number of privileges (having a family member to care, guide, and look after).

Religious attitudes and income have been inversely related to each other, especially the issue has become interesting considering the consequence of economic development in secular forces in developed countries. The idea was introduced by Weber (2018) which considers that the secularization in the society has been caused due to the economic growth. Similar trends have been confirmed by Barro and McCleary (2006) and Strulik (2015) in their researchers. Increase in incomes leads towards restraint from religious participation when the visits to the sacred places in considered as reference (Lipford & Tollison, 2002). People with strong religious beliefs and attitudes avoid the gains from consumption utility and believe that an excess of expenditures would deviate from the righteous path (Strulik, 2015).

Keeping in view the past literature and importance of religion, religious attitudes and role of parents in transmission of religious attitudes and practices, the current study has two major objectives. Firstly, to translate and validate the RAS in Urdu language; and secondly, to study the relationship of demographic variables (i.e., age, income, gender, and family system) with religious attitude of parents.

Following hypotheses were formulated for the current study:

1. Age of the parents has positive relationship with religious attitudes of parents
2. Positive religious attitudes of mothers would be higher than those of fathers
3. Positive religious attitudes of parents living in nuclear families would be lower than those from joint family system


The study comprised two phases: Phase I of the study focused on the translation of the RAS in Urdu language using forward and backward translation method suggested by Brislin (1976). In Phase II, the construct validity was established through Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), along with establishing the psychometric properties of the translated version of RAS. Afterwards, the relationships of religious attitudes were investigated on demographic variables (age, income, gender, & family system).

Religious Attitude Scale.
The Religious Attitude Scale (RAS; Onay, 2000) consisted of 18 items to be rated on 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = never to 4 = always. The factor analysis revealed that the questionnaire has three subscales; where the Affective Subscale consisted of four items, Behavioral Subscale comprised of 6 items; while, Cognitive Subscale has eight items. The alpha coefficient of reliability of RAS was .94 (Onay, 2000) and the scale assessed individual’s religious attitudes in three contexts including affective, behavioral, and cognitive domains.

Phase I: Translation of Religious Attitude Scale
Permission was sought from the author of scale for translation and validation of RAS. The aim was to make the items appropriate to be used in the indigenous cultural context. The translation of RAS was done by the forward and back translation method by Brislin (1976). The original version of RAS was given to five bilinguals experts (three PhD & two subject matter experts) with the instruction to maintain the conceptual equivalence and ensure that the items are relevant to the target culture. Afterwards, a committee consisting of three psychologists and the researcher selected the best Urdu translated items. No need was felt for adaptation because the scale was developed for Muslims, therefore, the content of items was appropriate in the indigenous culture. However, to increase the conceptual clarity in items 7 and 16, the English words for their Urdu counterparts were added. The Urdu translations were again given to another set of five bilinguals experts (two PhD, one subject matter expert & the researcher) to obtain back-translation in English. Committee evaluated these translations and then it led towards the selection of the best back-translation of RAS. A critical evaluation of these translations was done and after the selection of the most appropriate one, it was sent to the original author for approval before using it in the present study.

Phase II: Exploratory Factor Analysis, Psychometric Properties, and Relationship of RAS With Demographics
Sample. A sample of 264 parents (131 fathers & 133 mothers) with an age range of 26 to 52 years (M = 34.74; SD = 6.0) was selected on the basis of convenience sampling technique. Among these, 123 participants belonged to nuclear family system and 141 were from joint family system.

Procedure. Participants were given the RAS and their responses were taken after their consent to be a part of study. Sample was selected from four cities of Pakistan including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, and Sahiwal using convenience sampling technique. The researcher explained the purpose of the study and the instructions were provided to respond honestly, ensuring confidentiality and privacy, and to ask if they have any difficulty in understanding the item or responding. In case, the participants did not want to continue, they could leave the study. All participants were thanked for their cooperation in the end.


The data was checked for missing values and normality tests were applied to determine the distribution of data on RAS. Initially, Confirmatory Factor Analysis was done to confirm the prior factor structure provided by Onay (2000). The previous work on the Turkish population and in the indigenous culture the data was not consistent with the three factors of Religious Attitude Scale (RAS). Therefore, Exploratory Factor Analysis was used to establish the construct validity in Pakistani culture. For this purpose, Principal Component Analysis was carried out with the utilization of Direct Oblimin rotation method to obtain the factorial structure.

Table 1 shows that the factor loadings on 18 items of RAS are > .40 and thus, it satisfies the selection criteria (Brown, 2006; Hu & Bentler, 1999). Factor 1 has an Eigen value of 5.9 and explains 29.2% of the total variance, the items in factor 1 measures “Positive Religious Attitude”; while, factor 2 has an Eigen value of 3.27 and it accounts for 11.5% of the variance in data. The total variance explained by the two factors is 40.7%. All the 18 items on 2 factors are retained and labeled as items measuring “Negative Religious

Table 1:
Factor Loadings for RAS Through Principal Component
Analysis With Direct Oblimin Rotation Method (N = 264)

Figure 1 represents Scree plot for the factor matrix of 18 items of Religious Attitude Scale through Principal Component Analysis. The X-axis has the factors sorted by the decreasing fraction of the total variance explained. It is clear from the figure that a relatively large variance is explained by two factors.

Fig. 1: Scree plot showing extraction factors for RAS Urdu version

Further, means, standard deviations, Cronbach alpha coefficients, skewness, and kurtosis were analyzed to establish the psychometric properties of the RAS.

Table 2:
Alpha Reliabilities and Descriptive Statistics of RAS
(N = 264)

Note. Skew. = Skewness; Kurt. = Kurtosis; RAS = Religious Attitude Scale; NRA = Negative Religious
Attitudes; PRA = Positive Religious Attitudes.

Results given in Table 2 indicate that the alpha coefficients of the RAS and its subscales that is Positive Religious Attitudes and Negative Religious Attitudes are quite satisfactory. The skewness value lie between +2 and -2 indicating normal distribution of the data (Field, 2013).

Table 3:
Correlation Matrix for Demographics With RAS (N = 264)

Note. RAS = Religious Attitude Scale; NRA = Negative Religious Attitudes; PRA = Positive
Religious Attitudes
*p < .01

Findings presented in Table 3 show that age is significantly related to religious attitudes and with the two subscales that is, Negative Religious Attitudes and Positive Religious Attitudes. Therefore, with the increase in age of an individual the religious attitudes increase. The findings suggest that there is a significant negative relationship of income with religious attitudes and its subscales. Therefore, the increase in income of individuals leads towards a decrease in the religious attitudes.

Table 4:
Group Differences on RAS Based on the Gender of Parents (N = 264)

Note. RAS = Religious Attitude Scale; NRA = Negative Religious Attitudes; PRA = Positive Religious Attitudes.

Table 4 shows nonsignificant differences on RAS based upon the gender of parents.

Table 5:
Group Differences on RAS Across Family System (N = 264)

Note. RAS = Religious Attitude Scale; NRA = Negative Religious Attitudes; PRA = Positive
Religious Attitudes

Results given in Table 5 shows that parents living in nuclear families have significantly lower religious attitudes than those from the joint family system.


Religion is of prime importance and the reason for the existence of Pakistan, so there is no compromise in following the religious principles. Muslims have a complete set of life defined and executed by conforming to the religious values and behaviors. The social, political, cultural, legal, economic, legal, and even the personal value system are governed by religious attitudes (Cummings, Gopinathan, & Tomoda, 2018). The utilization of a reciprocal process to transform the religious values from one to another generation is the prime focus of society, because it is considered as the foundation for a strong and prosperous religious community (Barni, Ranjeri, Scabini, & Rosnati, 2011). The Religious Attitude Scale was used by a number of different researchers to measure the religious attitudes of individuals in their target population (Joseph, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 2009; Kuzgun & Sevim, 2004; Murphy & Davidshofer, 2016; Onay, 2000; Tabachnick & Fidel, 1996) and it provided with sound psychometric properties, so it was used in the current study to investigate the religious attitudes of parents. The scale was originally in the English language, so to be used in the indigenous culture, it was translated into Urdu language. Forward and back translation was done with the assistance of bilinguals and the committee of experts finalized the Urdu version of RAS.

Exploratory Factor Analysis revealed a two-factor solution and the reliabilities of the scale and its subscales were quite satisfactory. Although, the alpha reliability of the Negative Religious Attitudes subscale was .61, as six items in this subscale are reverse coded and there are a few extraneous factors which could have lead towards the low reliability in negative keyed items. The factors like carelessness, acquiescent responses, and confirmation bias are likely in negative keyed responses than in the regular items. Therefore, an inconsistency arises in the responses of reverse and regular items, because the participants may have an issue while comprehension of the questionnaire with two different keyed items (Swain, Weathers, & Niedrich, 2008). The RAS might encounter the problem of conformation bias, as the participants are likely to provide response which is consistent and appropriate with the stated item rather than their honest response (Davies, 2003; Weijters, Baumgartner, & Schillewaert, 2013).

Positive relationship between age and religious attitudes with its subscales is significant and it can be witnessed if results are pondered over meticulously. The correlation between the two is directly proportional and can be evidenced that the religious attitude becomes rigid while someone ages. The aging individuals with the passing decades feel alienated from their traditional extended family. All strong ties fade away with the time as their children are more intertwined with the hustle and bustle of life in this fast-paced globally interconnected world while their immediate families become their utmost priorities. Consequently, they are left out and feel very isolated and lonely as no family member is at their service. Ultimately, spiritual and religious communities seep in through and pave their way for social support where they feel belongingness (Koenig, 2012; Zucca, 2013). Their association with another community and people helps them get over this alienated feeling which is also a kind of dire need for them. People of this age bracket feel more comfortable while bonding with the religious beliefs, communities, and social groups which promote such religious festivities and activities. These religious beliefs and attitudes are crystallized due to the contextual factors as they play out a savior role in providing them with comfort, hope, and safe environment especially in the dark hours of life where there is a greater risk of health-related issues as per the age factor. They are more inclined towards praying as it provides them contentment and peace of mind. This inner calmness is due to the religious acts and practices that are not only a refreshing source for their health but also provides strength for their emotional and relational problems being faced (Manning, 2013; Troutman-Jordan, 2014). Additionally, the motivation towards religious and spiritual communities is fueled by the associations with them and this also streamlines their life purposes, peculiarly when social support is direly needed as life gets aimless and colorless like a stray bullet.

Moreover, the proposition by developmental psychologists about the inclination and seriousness of elder people towards religious attitudes is backed by their research findings as final stages of development along with the religious practices inculcates a sense of coherence in their lives (Fowler, 2008; Tornstam, 2017). At the very same time, social psychologists argue that insecurities, anxieties, and fears are eliminated with the help of religious beliefs and attitudes as they play a vital role regarding mortality (Vailet al., 2009).

Contrarily, the trend of the younger generation towards religious practices is lower than that of elder ones. The social networks of younger individuals are stronger as they have family, friends, and work they can keep themselves occupied with, and that loneliness is taken away. Amidst their hectic and busy life schedules, they may feel lonely, but this is swept away by hanging out with family and friends instead of choosing religious communities as a scapegoat. The trend of ‘not being too religious’ is very mainstream because their preconceived notions about practicing certain religious activities marginalize this behavior. Peers and society have more influence and they seek more approval from these resources which tends them to believe that promoting and practicing religion on the basis of their attitude might result in a serious blowback which eventually turns them away towards lesser religious practices and commitments (Manning, 2019). In this era, the information access and online available resources regarding diverse school of thoughts are just a click away. When religion becomes an umbrella that breeds the motive of intolerance, abuse, and war to which children are being consistently exposed to, their stark tendency of moving away from such controversies on the religious basis might be expected. The millennial and young generation are more prone towards finding their flow in a peaceful community where they can pour their heart feelings and interests with their social circle, rather than using the religious medium that has differences in social categories (Kroger, Jane, Monica, & Marcia, 2010).

The results of the current study reveal that there is a negative relationship between income and religious attitudes. Religious attitudes are influenced by income as moral principles of subjectivity that includes earning and activities are valued by the religious instrument. Whenever religious duties and laws are to be abided, the chances of earning immorally are doomed and whoever is oriented towards religious attitude usually has to keep this somewhere in the back of thought process. When there is an individual shift towards the religious attitudes, the available resources for the increased income are also increased. The focus gets shifted towards participation in religious rituals, customs, and prayers rather than the capitalistic mindset of accumulating and increasing wealth (Barro & McCleary, 2003). Furthermore, if Catholic and Islamic households are compared, the income of the former earning one would be starkly less, as the adherence to religious values and customs and avoidance of the unrighteous acts dominates the rest (Bettendorf & Dijkgraaf, 2011). Likewise, many life decisions are deeply influenced and dictated by religion especially with reference to the income sources. There is a widespread belief among individuals with a strong inclination towards religious beliefs and attitudes that any excessive luxurious display of wealth and its showcasing may deviate them from the path of righteousness and true faith, thus they don’t indulge in gaining any interests from the consumption (Strulik, 2015).

The present findings showed nonsignificant differences across gender of parents. In any society, fathers and mothers have been given a certain set of traditional gender roles; mothers being the dominant in household and childbirth procedures are closer to religion, and they take religion as a source of promoting harmony in the family. Fathers have the dominant role in the society and from outside the home, because they are the bread winners. However, they are also more prone to get influenced by the secular forces in the workforce, and eventually they take up religious attitudes and beliefs as a personal preference. There are a diverse belief systems and traditions regarding religion to which the fathers get accustomed to and they begin to acknowledge the differences in religious attitudes and have flexibility in their attitudes (Trzebiatowska, Marta, & Bruce, 2012). The participation of mothers in the workforce also provides them with the resources fathers have, where they work with a variety of religious sects and people with different attitudes, which in turn influence the attitudes of working mothers as well, and thus there are diminished differences among fathers and mothers in religious commitment and attitudes (Bradshaw & Ellison, 2009). The results obtained did not provide with significant differences in religious attitudes among fathers and mothers, because the brought up of fathers and mothers in reference to religious values is quite similar, so they grow up having no differences in attitudes. Fathers are often advised to avoid unfair means to earn, refrain from gambling, swearing, drinking, and smoking, while mothers are taught to offer prayers, avoid talking to fathers outside, and cover their head and body while going out of home. Even being taught a different set of religious values, fathers and mothers are expected to behave and act accordingly, and none of them can deviate from the path of faith (Lansing, 2001). It must be acknowledged that even though with the power distribution in the society, fathers and mothers are not expected to take a wrongful turn in religious attitudes and behaviors (Woodhead, 2012).

Parents belonging to nuclear families had significantly lower religious attitudes compared to those in joint family system. Family serves as an established institute of support for emotional and cultural verbalization, where one can voice for themselves and the family members are there to care, nourish, and provide resources for future directions. The societies in Pakistan lay stress on maintaining harmony and affection within the family, so that the values, attitudes, and norms of a family are in coherence with the society (Kumar & Tiwari, 2016). In nuclear families, there is always a room for experimentation and new experiences because there are less restrictions and the check and balance on each individual is difficult to maintain. In nuclear families, more or less importance is given to religion, because there are a few people who teach and nourish the religious attitudes, neither there are any restrictions or checks on the religious attitudes and behaviors (Takeda et al., 2004). On the contrary, there is always a support and guide in the joint family for the individuals, and one sees the other people practicing and having conversations related to religion which develops a similar religious attitude in each family member. Moreover, an expression of religious attitude in the behaviors is more likely to be rewarded in the form of appreciation or privileges in the joint family rather than the nuclear family. The support system varies in joint and nuclear family and individuals are oriented towards a defined direction to follow in the joint family, whereas the individuals in nuclear family have freedom and their religious attitudes are not only influenced by family practices, but also the diverse peer and socialization groups play role in shaping the religious attitudes (Abdel-Khalek, 2006; Myers, 2000).


Cross-language validation of RAS has not been done in the current study, so if it is done the test-retest reliabilities can also be established. The data has been taken from four cities of Pakistan, hence raises generalizability issues. Therefore, it is suggested to obtain data from different cities in each province of Pakistan, so that the trends in the religious attitudes can be thoroughly explored in Pakistan.


The scale translated in the current study can be utilized in researches in indigenous culture to explore and investigate religious attitudes in different populations. The findings of study assist in establishing the trends in religious attitudes and demographics, but an in-depth study of the factors which play role in the formation and differences of religious attitudes in gender can be investigated.

The RAS has been translated and the reliabilities obtained were satisfactory. The findings from EFA provided with the two-factor solution. The findings also revealed that age has a significantly positive relationship with religious attitudes while income has significantly negative relationship with religious attitudes. Religious attitudes of individuals from joint family are significantly higher than those belonging to nuclear family system whereas nonsignificant differences among fathers and mothers in religious attitudes were found.


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How to Cite this paper?

APA-7 Style
Ayub, H., Rauf, N.K., Khan, S. (2020). Translation and Validation of Religious Attitude Scale: Role of Demographic Variables. Pak. J. Psychol. Res, 35(1), 191-208.

ACS Style
Ayub, H.; Rauf, N.K.; Khan, S. Translation and Validation of Religious Attitude Scale: Role of Demographic Variables. Pak. J. Psychol. Res 2020, 35, 191-208.

AMA Style
Ayub H, Rauf NK, Khan S. Translation and Validation of Religious Attitude Scale: Role of Demographic Variables. Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research. 2020; 35(1): 191-208.

Chicago/Turabian Style
Ayub, Hamna, Nelofar Kiran Rauf, and Saira Khan. 2020. "Translation and Validation of Religious Attitude Scale: Role of Demographic Variables" Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research 35, no. 1: 191-208.