Daily spiritual experiences and well-being among the nonreligious, spiritual, and religious: A bifactor analysis.

Joseph H. Hammer, Ryan T. Cragun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale (DSES; Underwood & Teresi, 2002) has been used in hundreds of investigations to study the role of everyday spiritual experiences in the lives of the not religious nor spiritual (NRS), spiritual but not religious (SNR), and religious and spiritual (RS). However, there is a lack of measurement equivalence/invariance (ME/I) evidence to support the use of the DSES to compare these three groups. The present study (N = 1,623 U.S. adults) sought to (a) identify the most appropriate factor structure for the DSES within samples of NRS, SNR, and RS persons, (b) examine the ME/I of the DSES factor(s) across the three groups, and (c) investigate the relationship between the DSES and common measures of well-being (e.g., meaning in life, satisfaction with life, physical health, and mental health). Our results indicate that the DSES measured the same 2 independent daily spiritual experience constructs when used with SNR and RS participants but a different array of inadequately defined daily spiritual experience constructs among the NRS participants. This raises questions about the utility of using the DSES with NRS samples and provides evidence that the DSES conforms to a bifactor, rather than unidimensional, structure among SNR and RS participants. Lastly, our findings paint a complex picture of the relationship between daily spiritual experiences and well-being across these 3 groups, such that daily spiritual experiences are not always associated with enhanced well-being. Implications for research and practice use, scoring, and interpretation of the DSES across these 3 groups are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association


  • bifactor analysis
  • daily spiritual experiences
  • religion
  • spirituality
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology


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