See also Praying.

LASA filenames:
LASA038 (questions RELIG02-RELIG8a)
LASAC238 (orthodoxy scale score, based on 7 items)
LASAE138 (questions QRELI02-QRELI07)
LASAE338 (orthodoxy scale score, based on 6 items)

Contact: Arjan Braam


Orthodoxy is defined as the level of adherence to traditional (i.e. Christian) religious beliefs. When studying groups with strict religious convictions, the measure of orthodoxy may provide more insight than rubricating religious affiliations (see LASA website). For example, some religious communities may be more strict than others, depending of the region in the country, or the subdivision (e.g. the Gereformeerde Bond ‘Reformed Union’ as part of the Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, currently ‘Protestantse Kerken in Nederland’). Furthermore, using a scale facilitates to get insight into interindividual differences with respect to traditional religious convictions.

Measurement instruments in LASA

Orthodoxy was assessed at LASA cycle 2, wave C with the Orthodoxy Scale, which has been regularly used in studies by the Dutch Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) [1]. Doctrines included are (asked as ‘Do you believe in’): life after death, heaven, hell, devil, the actual existence of Adam and Eve and the Bible as God’s word. Answer could be ‘yes’ (score = 1) or ‘no’ (score = 0), yielding a score range of 0-7. Cronbach’s alpha amounts to 0.86. De Hart [2], researcher on trends in religion in The Netherlands, discusses that some of the Orthodoxy scale items do not necessarily, or no longer pertain to traditional or dogmatic beliefs, such as notions on life after death, praying or religious miracles (the miracle item was omitted from the LASA interview).

The item RELIG08 “Do you think praying makes sense for you?” has also been used as a single item variable, denoted as ‘perceived meaningfulness of prayer’. This variable is part of the orthodoxy scale at LASA cycle 2 (wave C), and has been used as single item afterwards (wave D, E, 2B, F, G, H, 3B, I, J and K). Moreover, from D onward this question has been extended with the item RELIG8a “How often do you pray (meditate)?’ Answers could be ‘never’, ‘less than once a month’, ‘once a month’ , ‘a few times a week’ , ‘once a week’, ‘a few times a week ‘, ‘once a day’, ‘more than once a day’.


The following questions are about faith, religion and your view of life.

(RELIG02 / QRELI02)   Do you belief in life after death?
(RELIG03 / QRELI03)   Do you belief in the existence of Heaven?
(RELIG04 / QRELI04)   Do you belief in the existence of a hell?
(RELIG05 / QRELI05)   Do you belief in the existence of a devil?
(RELIG06 / QRELI06)   Do you belief in the actual existence of Adam and Eve?
(RELIG07 / QRELI07)   Do you consider the Bible as God’s word?
(RELIG08)                        Do you think praying makes sense for you?
(RELIG8a)                        How often do you pray (meditate)?

LASAC038 / LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038 / LASAF038 / LASAG038 / LASAH038 / LAS3B038 / LASAI038 / LASAJ038 / LASAK038 (main interview, in Dutch)

LASAE138 (self-administered questionnaire, in Dutch)

NB. The Migrant cohort (LASMB038) contained one question about religious affiliation (RELIG1a) and visiting church/mosque/synagogue (RELIG1b). These questions were processed in z038 and are described in church affiliation and church attendance, respectively. Moreover, three questions about the relationship with God were added. These questions are described in Religious coping.

Variable information

LASAC038 / LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038 / LASAF038 / LASAG038 / LASH038 / LAS3B038 / LASAI038 / LASAJ038 / LASAK038;
LASAC238 (scale scores)

LASAE338 (scale scores)

Availability of information per wave


(LASAC238, 7 items)
(LASAE338, 6 items)

¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort

Ma=data was collected in main interview;
Sa=data was collected in self-administered questionnaire

Previous use in LASA
Studies on religion have predominantly been performed by Braam et al [3-7].


  1. Becker, J.W., & Vink, R. (1994). Secularisatie in Nederland, 1966-1991; de verandering van opvattingen en enkele gedragingen [Secularization in the Netherlands, 1966-1991]. Social and Cultural Studies; 19. Rijswijk, The Netherlands: Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau.
  2. Hart, J. de (2014). Geloven binnen en buiten verband. Godsdienstige ontwikkelingen in Nederland. Den Haag, Netherlands, Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.
  3. Braam, A.W., Hein, E., Deeg, D.J.H., Twisk, J.W.R., Beekman, A.T.F., & Tilburg, W. van (2004). Religious involvement and 6-year course of depressive symptoms in older Dutch citizens: Results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Journal of Aging and Health 16, 467-489.
  4. Braam, A.W., Klinkenberg, M., & Deeg, D.J.H. (2006). Religiositeit en stemming in de laatste levensweek [Religiousness and mood in the last week of life: an explorative approach based on after-death proxy interviews]. Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie 37, 254-262.
  5. Braam, A.W., Deeg, D.J.H., Poppelaars, J.L., Beekman, A.T.F., & Tilburg W. van (2007). Prayer and depressive symptoms in a period of secularization: patterns among older adults in The Netherlands. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 15, 273-281.
  6. Braam, A.W., Klinkenberg M., Deeg, D.J.H. (2011). Religiousness and mood in the last week of life: an explorative approach based on after-death proxy interviews. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 14, 31-37.
  7. Braam, A.W., Klinkenberg M., Galenkamp, H., & Deeg, D.J.H. Late-life depressive symptoms, religiousness, and mood in the last week of life. Depression, Research and Treatment, article ID 754031, 1-10.

Date of last update: January, 2022 (LS)