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How will researchers benefit from the SEAS?

Researchers studying spirituality can use the SEAS as a reliable and valid non-theist measure, which is conceptually independent of any specific religious tradition. The following methodological issues were kept in mind in its development:

  1. The underlying constructs needed to be common to as many spiritual traditions as possible.
  2. The underlying developmental model needed to reflect positively the range of stages that persons typically move through in regard to spiritual development.
  3. Taking the scale should be an educational process in itself by assisting the person to focus on a range of spiritual issues.
  4. Response options needed to represent a range of positive choices, each linked to a different perspective on spiritual development.
  5. Scale items should represent measures of both knowledge/awareness and application of that knowledge.
  6. The language of the scale needed to be as neutral regarding spiritual traditions and as “plain language” as possible.

While other spirituality measures show a ceiling effect with persons very experienced in meditation or having studied in spiritual traditions for a number of years, the SEAS is able to differentiate successfully among persons that appear quite homogeneous on other spirituality measures. It can also be an effective measure of spirituality for research studies wishing to correlate spiritual maturity with other behaviours. Because the SEAS has been designed for repeat administration, it can be given before and after activities or interventions in order to measure change in spiritual maturity. Here is an example of what part of a research report might look like:

Spiritual Evolution Assessment Scale™ (SEAS)

Participants Taking the Spiritual Values Workshop:

Pre: Sept. 8, 2006

Post: Oct. 20, 2006

  Pre Post
Mean scores:
Overall 43.6 55.5
Factors
Understand spiritual reality 40.1 44.8
Own spiritual development 47.4 63.2
Interacting with others 43.2 58.5
Knowledge items 45.3 63.9
Application items 41.9 46.1
Standard deviations: 5.6 5.1

Participants, on average, scored significantly higher on the SEAS after completing the Spiritual Values Workshop. The increase was primarily in concepts related to their own spiritual development and how to apply spiritual concepts in interacting with others. The improvement in knowledge of concepts was significantly higher than improvement in applying those concepts in daily life.

Distribution of participants Pre Post
Group 1 (mean-1.5 SD) 32% 16%
Group 2 (mean - .5 SD) 38% 44%
Group 3 (mean +/- .5 SD) 15% 42%
Group 4 (mean + .5 SD) 12% 14%
Group 5 (mean + 1.5 SD) 3% 4%

Before the workshop, 70% of participants scored over 0.5 SD below the SEAS mean and only 15% scored over 0.5 SD above the SEAS mean. After the workshop, 42% scored within 0.5 SD of the mean.

Change in number of participants by group:

Pre: Number   Post: Number in Group
      1 2 3 4 5
1 20   6 14 - - -
2 25   - 5 20 - -
3 14   - - - 14 -
4 4   - - - 2 2
5 2   - - - - 2
Totals 65   6 19 20 16 4

There was a significant shift in distribution of participants by group as a result of participating in the Spiritual Values Workshop.