Behaviors Toward God Scale (BTGS)


Scale name:    Behaviors Toward God Scale (BTGS)

Scale overview: The Behaviors Toward God Scale (BTGS) is an 18-item self-report measure of  behavioral responses toward God when people experience a spiritual or religious struggle. The items are grouped into four subscales.

Authors: Julie J. Exline et al. (2021)

Response Type:  

Participants read a statement and rate their behavioral response from 0 = not at all to 10 = extremely.

Subscales: Four (sample item in parentheses)

1. Approach – draw close (tried to trust God)

2. Disengage - turn away or exit (ignored God)

3. Protest-  complain, argue, or question (asked God "Why?")

4. Suppress – avoid or minimize negative feelings toward God (tried to hide feelings of anger or disappointment toward God)


Reliability: alpha values for the four subscales ranged from .80 to .89 in study 1 and .79 to .91 in study 2 (Exline et al., 2021)

Validity: The Exline  et al. 2021 article includes the results of factor analyses and correlations with other measures. A technical report by Stauner & Exline (2020) provides a look at the factor structure of a 23-item version, which was reduced to 18-items.

Availability: Author contact email Dr. Julie J. Exline

Permissions -- if identified


Exline, J. J., Wilt, J. A., Stauner, N., & Pargament, K. I. (2021). Approach, disengagement, protest, and suppression: Four behaviors toward God in the context of religious/spiritual struggle. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. (Supplemental)

Stauner, N. & Exline, J.J. (2020). Factor analysis of behaviors toward God. Unpublished technical report available from


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