A Qualitative Study on Mainland Chinese and North American Spirituality


Ka Chi G. Liu

Publication Date



Although many measurements of religiosity and spirituality have been developed in the west in the past several decades, there has been a paucity of literature on spirituality in non-western cultures and absence of an indigenous spirituality scale in China (Hill, 2005; Shek, 2010). The current study is an attempt to highlight both the universal and cultural-specific aspects of Mainland Chinese and North American religion and spirituality. One hundred and seventy Mainland Chinese and 209 North Americans responded to an open-ended questionnaire regarding their perception of a religious and/or spiritual person. Their responses were coded with a coding scheme that derived from Saroglou's (2011) Big Four religious dimensions (believing, bonding, behaving, and belonging). A ratio was calculated and assigned to each category for each participant based on the number of responses in each category and the total number of responses. The ratios in the believing, bonding, and behaving categories among Mainland Chinese participants were not significantly different from North American participants. The ratios in the belonging categories were significantly higher among North American participants than Mainland Chinese participants. Furthermore, compared with North American participants, the proportion of unclassifiable statements (statements that were unclassifiable under the four categories proposed by Saroglou) was significantly higher among Mainland Chinese participants. Implications of the results are discussed and applied to the construction of an indigenous Chinese spirituality scale.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

First Advisor

Dueck, Alvin

Document Type





Spirituality, China, United States




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