The daily spiritual experience scale: development, theoretical description, reliability, exploratory factor analysis, and preliminary construct validity using health-related data

Ann Behav Med. 2002 Winter;24(1):22-33. doi: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2401_04.


Spirituality and religiousness are gaining increasing attention as health research variables. However, the particular aspects examined vary from study to study, ranging from church attendance to religious coping to meaning in life. This frequently results in a lack of clarity regarding what is being measured, the meaning of the relationships between health variables and spirituality, and implications for action. This article describes the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES) and its development, reliability, exploratory factor analyses, and preliminary construct validity. Normative data from random samples and preliminary relationships of health-related data with the DSES also are included. Detailed data for the 16-item DSES are provided from two studies; a third study provided data on a subset of 6 items, and afourth study was done on the interrater reliability of the item subset. A 6-item version was used in the General Social Survey because of the need to shorten the measure for the survey. A rationale for the conceptual underpinnings and item selection is provided, as are suggested pathways for linkages to health and well-being. This scale addresses reported ordinary experiences of spirituality such as awe, joy that lifts one out of the mundane, and a sense of deep inner peace. Studies using the DSES may identify ways in which this element of life may influence emotion, cognition and behavior, and health or ways in which this element may be treated as an outcome in itself a particular component of well-being. The DSES evidenced good reliability across several studies with internal consistency estimates in the .90s. Preliminary evidence showed that daily spiritual experience is related to decreased total alcohol intake, improved quality of life, and positive psychosocial status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*