(which appears at the start of the Results section) lists descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, ranges) for all study variables. For a brief description of all of the measures, please see Appendix B
Demographic questionnaire. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire. The items provided further information on participants’ genders, ages, religious/spiritual traditions, ethnicities, places of birth, relationship statuses, years of residence in the United States, and degrees of proficiency in the English language.
We initially developed a 16-item measure to examine the extent to which participants endorse a spiritual jihad interpretive framework in reference to a specific struggle. Note that spiritual jihad is our technical term for the Islamic concept; items did not use the term “jihad” to avoid unwanted connotations. Items were sent to academic scholars in the field of Islamic spirituality in order to develop content validity. The three scholars provided feedback regarding the content of items. Feedback from the scholarly experts primarily involved suggestions towards developing a working definition of the term spiritual jihad, translating Arabic terminology, and the rewording of items to better align with an Islamic framework. Participants were instructed to rate each item on a seven-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree) pertaining to how they viewed a specific moral struggle they recently encountered. Sample items included “It is a test that will make me closer to God” and “It is a desire of my nafs that I must work against.” Reverse-scored items such as “The struggle has no meaning for me” and “Allah plays no role in my struggle” were also included in the measure to address issues of response biases (e.g., acquiescence). As detailed in the results section, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted to evaluate the structure of the measure. One item was dropped as a result of the analysis, as described in the results section. The current study provided initial tests of this new measure’s reliability and validity. See Appendix A
for the complete measure.
Religious coping was measured with select, abbreviated (three-item) subscales from the Religious Coping Questionnaire (RCOPE; Pargament et al. 2000
). The RCOPE consists of subscales assessing coping responses to stressful experiences within a religious context including Benevolent Religious Appraisal (e.g., “Thought the event might bring me closer to God”), Active Religious Surrender (e.g., “Did my best and turned the situation over to God”), Seeking Spiritual Support (e.g., “Looked to God for strength, support, and guidance”), Religious Focus (e.g., “Prayed to get my mind off problems”), Religious Purification (e.g., “Asked forgiveness for my sins”), Spiritual Connection (e.g., “Looked for a stronger connection with God”) and Religious Forgiving (e.g., “Sought help from God in letting go of my anger”). Subscale average scores and an overall average score were examined.
Islamic religiousness was measured with the five Islamic Dimensions subscales of the Psychological Measure of Islamic Religiousness (PMIR; Abu-Raiya et al. 2008
): Beliefs Dimension (e.g., “I believe in the Day of Judgment”), Practices Dimension (e.g., “How often do you fast?”), Ethical Conduct-Do Dimension (e.g., “Islam is the major reason why I honor my parents”), Ethical Conduct-Do Not Dimension (e.g., “Islam is the major reason why I do not drink alcohol”), and Islamic Universality Dimension (e.g., “I identify with the suffering of every Muslim in the world”). An average score was obtained from each subscale, in addition to an overall average score, in order to measure levels of Islamic religiousness.
Daily spiritual experiences were measured with the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale (DSES; Underwood and Teresi 2002
). The DSES examines spiritual experiences such as a perceived connection with the transcendent (e.g., “I feel God’s presence”). Our focus was on the first 15 items, which were presented in the form of a six-point scale (1 = never, or almost never, 6 = many times a day). The word “Allah” was substituted for “God” for the purpose of the current study. An overall average score was obtained, with larger scores indicating greater perceived closeness with Allah.
The short form of the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI-S; Calhoun and Tedeschi 1999
) assessed the extent to which participants perceived themselves as having grown from their reported crisis with 13 items (e.g., “A willingness to express my emotions”). Ratings were averaged.
Spiritual growth and decline were measured via abbreviated versions of the Spiritual Growth (e.g., “Spirituality has become more important to me”) and Spiritual Decline (e.g., In some ways I have shut down spiritually”) subscales of the Spiritual Transformation Scale (STS; Cole et al. 2008
). A shortened version of the STS (eight items), using the highest-loading items from each subscale, was administered for the current study, with permission from the scale author. Similar shortened forms have been used in other published studies of religious/spiritual struggles (Exline et al. 2017
; Wilt et al. 2016
). Participants were asked to rate their degree of agreement regarding spiritual growth and decline on a seven-point scale (1 = not at all, 7 = very true). An overall average score was calculated for both subscales.
The five-item Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; Diener et al. 1985
) was used in order to measure satisfaction with life (e.g., “So far I have gotten the important things I want in life”). Participants responded to items on a seven-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). An overall score was obtained from all five items, including reverse-scored items, with higher scores indicating greater self-reported life satisfaction.
Generalized anxiety was measured with the Generalized Anxiety Disorder seven-item scale (GAD-7; Spitzer et al. 2006
). The GAD-7 assesses generalized anxiety symptoms by asking participants to report their frequency of anxiety-related concerns (e.g., “Worrying too much about different things”) on a four-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 3 (nearly every day). Scores were summed.
Depressed mood was assessed with the Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression Short Form (CES-D-10; Radloff 1977
), which includes 10 items (e.g., “I was bothered by things that usually don’t bother me”). Participants responded to statements measuring depressive symptoms in the past week on a four-point scale ranging from 0 (rarely or none of the time) to 3 (all of the time). Ratings were summed.
Dispositional gratitude was measured with the Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form (GQ-6; McCullough et al. 2002
). Participants responded to six items addressing gratefulness (e.g., “I have so much in life to be thankful for”). Items were answered on a seven-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). Item ratings were summed.
A general tendency to forgive was measured with the Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS; Thompson and Snyder 2003
), a self-report questionnaire with 18 items (e.g., “Learning from bad things that I’ve done helps me get over them”). Participants responded on a scale ranging from 1 (almost always false of me) to 7 (almost always true of me). An overall scale score was calculated from ratings of the 18 items, including reverse-scored items.
Patience was measured with the 3-Factor Patience Scale (3-FPS, Schnitker 2012
). The scale is comprised of 11 items (e.g., “I am able to wait-out tough times”). A composite patience score was calculated by summing ratings of all items, including reverse-scored items.
Social desirability: the five-item short form of the Marlowe–Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS; Reynolds 1982
) was included. Items (e.g., “No matter whom I am talking to, I am always a good listener”) were rated true or false. The MCSDS has exhibited good internal consistency and test-retest reliability in prior research (Reynolds 1982
). Ratings were summed, including reverse-scored items, with higher scores indicating greater endorsement of socially desirable responses.