Cross-cultural testing of James W. Fowler's model of faith development among Baha'is.

Title: Cross-cultural testing of James W. Fowler's model of faith development among Baha'is.
Authors: Drewek, Paula A.
Date: 1996
Abstract: James W. Fowler's contribution to psycho-social development offered a measurement for how individuals grow in faith which was applied to two populations of Baha'is in a cross-cultural study. The purpose of the study was two-fold: to test Fowler's model of faith development (FD) on a Western population of Baha'is in Canada; and, secondly, to apply the same test to an identical population of Baha'is in India. The overall purpose of the study was to cross-validate Fowler's model of faith development in an Eastern culture. In the very few previous cross-cultural studies of faith development, none had focused on two evenly-matched populations of individuals from the same faith tradition in widely varying cultures. The study consisted of 40 faith development interviews: 20 in Canada and 20 in India, with individuals matched according to four controlled variables which were thought to impact faith stage score. The pairing of respondents according to chronological age, sex, education level and Baha'i age was done to isolate the cultural variable and to highlight potential cultural differences. The research used a phenomenological, quasi-experimental approach. The faith development model was tested in the Canadian population using three measures of compatibility: range of stage scores, clustering of faith aspects, and codeability of the interviews corresponding to the faith stage descriptors. Results supported the model overall, but found difficulties in the clustering of Stage Aspects in Stage 4 interviews. Next, the model was tested on Indian Baha'is by comparing both the stage scores of the two populations and the responses of Canadians and Indians to the same interview questions. The results of the study were both quantitative and qualitative and confirmed the validity of the Fowler model overall but found problems in the stage descriptors in some of the Indian interviews. Quantitative findings showed no significant differences between Canadians and Indians in overall stage scores, but did show varying distributions of those scores which confirmed the hypotheses: there would be more Stage 4 Canadians and more Stage 3 and Stage 5 Indians. Both hypotheses affirmed the cultural biases of the Fowler model in defining Stages 3 and 4. Qualitative findings indicated general validity of the Fowler instrument when applied to the Indian sample, but specific problems with the construction of Stage 3 descriptors. The presence of discrepant data indicating reliance on the role of unconscious and intuitive factors in values and decision-making was also a problem. Lastly, questions related to the application of this model in the Baha'i community were addressed to discover factors inhibiting and supporting growth of faith as measured by Fowler's model in this relatively youthful, but little studied, worldwide religious community.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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