Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Joseph S. Rossi


The study of the use of religious techniques in counseling and religious/spiritual expression has gained increased attention in research literature over the last 15-20 years. Psychologists are becoming increasingly accepting of the role of religious techniques in counseling and the role of religious/spiritual expression in human development. However, most agree that the research base needs to be more inclusive and expanded. When religion is the focus of investigation in college student populations, most attention is focused on religious beliefs and practices, and changes in beliefs over the course of the college experience.

The transtheoretical model (TTM) is an integrative model of intentional behavior change, which incorporates key constructs from other major psychological theories. The model explains how individuals change problem behaviors or acquire new, healthy behaviors. The transtheoretical model was used as a tool to assess the modification behaviors of college students who do or do not engage in religious/spiritual expression. The appropriate application of the TTM to this new topic area of spiritual expression involved proper measure development techniques.

The general objective of the current study was the development and initial validation of two constructs of the TTM for spiritual expression among college students. Decisional Balance and Situational Confidence & Temptation were developed and validated as two separate measures. This measure development study included pilot versions of three instruments 1) staging algorithm, 2) decisional balance, and 3) self-efficacy. Other existing measures were included to assess the external validity of the pilot instruments. A sequential approach was used toward measurement development (Jackson, 1970, 1971) resulting in three decisional balance constructs, intrinsic pros, extrinsic pros, and cons. There was a cross over pattern in the decisional balance constructs and the cons decreased from precontemplation to action/maintenance and the pros increased from precontemplation to action/maintenance. There were distinct structures for the situational confidence and temptations. Confidence increased across the stages of change whereas temptation decreased across the stages. The transtheoretical measures outcome for spiritual expression parallel findings of other health behaviors and demonstrate how transtheoretical measures can be applied to spiritual expression.



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