Applying the stages of change model to Jewish conversion

Martha Jean Bockian, Fordham University


The literature on religious conversion, Jewish and otherwise, presents no comprehensive model which adequately explains the Jewish conversion process. The stages of change model by Prochaska and his colleagues (McConnaughy, DiClemente, Prochaska, & Velicer, 1989; McConnaughy, Prochaska, & Velicer, 1983; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1992), however, appears to describe the general process of change which occurs during conversion. The model posits five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The present investigation tested how well the stages of change model fits the Jewish conversion process, and began the validation process of a new measure (the Stages of Change Questionnaire - Jewish Conversion or SOCQ-JC) adapted to study Jewish conversion according to that model. The current sample of 141 volunteers had a mean age of 35 years, and were typically white, female and college educated. According to Staging Algorithm classifications, there were 20 precontemplators, 24 contemplators, 16 in the preparation stage, 37 in the action stage, and 44 in the maintenance stage. Factor analysis of the SOCQ-JC indicated that three of the four derived factors unequivocally corresponded to the stages of change model, and the other factor consisted of items from two stages. Further, the SOCQ-JC scales manifested adequate reliability, with coefficient alpha levels of at least .70 for each scale. The Staging Algorithm was found to correspond stage by stage to the SOCQ-JC. Additionally, scores on the Jewish factors on the Survey of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Customs (SABC) were found to increase significantly across the stages of change, while scores on the SABC Christian Beliefs Scale were found to decrease. Discriminant validity between the SOCQ-JC and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale was demonstrated by the lack of a significant relationship between the measures. The stages of change model generally fit very well for Jewish conversion, and there is now preliminary support for the validity of the SOCQ-JC.

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Recommended Citation

Bockian, Martha Jean, "Applying the stages of change model to Jewish conversion" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3017541.