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Measuring religious social capital: the scale properties of the Williams Religious Social Capital Index (WRSCI) among cathedral congregations

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The theoretical construct of social capital remains contested in terms of conceptualisation and measurement. The present paper follows the convention of distinguishing between trust, bonding, bridging and linking social capital, to conceptualise how religious communities promote and develop social capital within a specifically religious cohort. Developing this construct of religious social capital further, this paper proposes a measure for use specifically among religious communities to assess individual-level social capital. The Williams Religious Social Capital Index (WRSCI) provides a unidimensional construct of religious social capital taking into consideration the four elements highlighted. A sample of 720 members of six cathedral congregations in England and Wales completed a battery of items concerning social capital. Factor analysis procedures produced a 12-item index of religious social capital. Reliability analyses demonstrated that this index achieved satisfactory levels of internal reliability consistency. Construct validity was supported by the clear association between frequency of attendance and levels of assessed religious social capital.
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Keywords: cathedrals; religious social capital; scale; social capital

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of Warwick, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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