Spiritual modeling self-efficacy

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American Psychology Association


We report psychometric properties, correlates, and underlying theory of the Spiritual Modeling Self-Efficacy (SMSE) scale. The SMSE, the first spiritually oriented self-efficacy measure, is a 10-item self-report assessment of perceived efficacy for learning from spiritual models. Spiritual models are defined as community-based or prominent people who function for respondents as exemplars of spiritual qualities, such as compassion, self-control, or faith. Demographic, spiritual, and personality correlates were examined in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of college students from California, Connecticut, and Tennessee (N = 1,012). SMSE total scores demonstrated good 7-week test–retest reliability (r = .77), patterns of correlation supporting convergent, divergent, and criterion-related validity, demographic differences in expected directions, and substantial individual heterogeneity. Factor analyses revealed two correlated subscales corresponding to community-based and prominent models (internal reliabilities α > .85). Previous randomized studies of college students have demonstrated that psychosocial interventions can enhance SMSE scores. Implications are discussed for research and for pastoral, educational, and health applications.