Religious orientation and locus of control in an Australian Open Enrolment Christian School

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study extended earlier research into religious orientation and locus of control of church congregations in the United States to an open enrolment Christian school in Sydney, Australia. Relationships of the former with the perceived influence of the school on religious beliefs, the extent of 'feeling near to God at school' and the socioeconomic status of students were explored. Results suggested that the perceived influence of the school and the sense of feeling close to God at school were the strongest predictors of intrinsic orientation.

Religious orientation has been defined as the extent to which a person lives out his/her religious beliefs (Allport & Ross, 1967). A person with a strong internal religious orientation tends to seek to live day to day life according to her/his religion. On the other hand, a person with a strong extrinsic religious orientation may be more influenced by other social forces and tend to participate in religious activities to meet personal needs, for example, social affiliation, or for personal advantage (Allport, & Ross, 1967). Allport's original conceptualisation of religious orientation combined religious beliefs, behaviours and motivation (Allport, 1966). More recently, some writers (e.g., Fulton, Gorsuch, & Maynard, 1999; Gorsuch, 1994; Gorsuch & McPherson, 1989; Gorsuch, Mylvaganam, Gorsuch & Johnson, 1997) have argued that motivation is the most appropriate rubric under which to place religious orientation.