The Measure of Diverse Adolescent Spirituality (MDAS) and Refined Findings from Mexican and Salvadoran Youth

By Pamela Ebstyne King, Yeonsoo Yoo, Jennifer M. Vaughn, Jonathan M. Tirrell, G. John Geldhof, and Elizabeth M. Dowling



The Measurement of Diverse Adolescent Spirituality (MDAS) was developed to assess adolescent spirituality and religiosity for use with diverse youth. Researchers have emphasized the multifaceted nature of spirituality and suggested the need for robust measures to chart patterns of spiritual development in a culturally and developmentally valid manner. The MDAS was developed as a theory-based measure, grounded in a relational developmental systems metatheory (RDS), that views spiritual development as resulting from the coactions between an individual and the diverse systems in which he or she lives, especially as they pertain to the individual’s perceptions and responses to transcendence. The original MDAS was a 27-item self-report multidimensional measure of adolescent spirituality including three subscales of transcendence, fidelity, and contribution. This chapter reviews the ongoing process of developing the MDAS and applicability across two samples in Central America. Initial measurement construction was tested on an adolescent sample in Mexico using the three subscales. Two of the subscales, Transcendence and Fidelity, were later used in a broader study, the Compassion International Study of Positive Youth Development, a study of thriving and spirituality in El Salvador. In a later study, measurement invariance testing was explored between the Mexican and Salvadoran samples. The chapter discusses the findings from these studies, the psychometric properties of a refined short version of the MDAS using the two subscales within two samples from Mexico and El Salvador, the usefulness of the measure more broadly, and directions for future research.


Access Article Here


King, P.E., Yoo, Y., Vaughn, J.M., Tirrell, J.M., Geldhof, G.J., & Dowling, E.M. (2020). The Measure of Diverse Adolescent Spirituality (MDAS) and refined findings from Mexican and Salvadoran youth. In A.L. Ai, P. Wink, R.F. Paloutzian, & K.A. Harris (Eds.), Assessing Spirituality in a Diverse World. New York: Springer Press.