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The Multidimensionality of Motivation for Jewish Religious Behavior: Content, Structure, and Relationship to Religious Identity

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The present study examined the content and structure of self–reported motivation for Jewish religious behavior. Initial items were generated from comprehensive and detailed responses to a semi–structured interview and an open–ended questionnaire. Principal component factor analysis with orthogonal rotation was carried out on the responses of a sample of 323 research participants to two parallel sets of the 111 items produced by the above process. The factor structures for each of these sets of items were highly similar to each other and consisted of the following five reliable factors: belief in a divine order, ethnic identity, social activity, family activity, and upbringing. These factors appear to reflect the way religious behavior can contribute to the satisfaction of a number of general human motives. Persons with different religious identities were found to attribute their performance of religious ritual to different motives, providing a partial explanation for the apparent anomaly of the performance of religious ritual by persons who identify themselves as secular.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Bar–IIan University, Israel 2: Bar–IIan University, Israel

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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