We present the development and standardization of a measure of spiritual, religious and philosophical beliefs. An interview was constructed based on on-going studies by the authors of the nature and strength of belief held by people hospitalized with an acute illness. The interview was tested with three standard populations–staff of a teaching hospital; attenders to an inner city general practice; and people with clearly defined, devout religious beliefs–in order to establish population norms, validity and reliability for each question. The interview performed well with satisfactory validity and high internal and test–retest reliability. It is not presented, however, as a final product which will meet all needs in this complicated area of study. Rather, we have attempted to refine a measure of spiritual and religious belief that might apply to people with a range of personal and public faiths. It is clear that people are able to express these aspects of their lives in a way that can be measured with acceptable reliability and validity. We believe that this interview could, therefore, be applied in any medical, psychological or social setting in which a measure of belief is sought.
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