Religious Fanatism: A Reality in Puerto Rico?

  • José Rodríguez-Gómez, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. Carlos Albizu University, San Juan
Keywords: religious fanaticism, Puerto Rico, religion, scale


The concept of fanaticism is basically defined as excessive, obsessive and even unhealthy exaltation in the valuation or defense of a subject, subject action or idea (Schwartz, 1998). Religious fanaticism can be seen as the inability to accept that the world has a complex diversity and that no one has an absolute truth, thus conceiving a society restricted to a mental or destructive ankyloses (Rodriguez, 2015). The purpose of this study is to develop Rodríguez-Gómez Religious Fanaticism Scale (2016) as an instrument that measures how fanatic a person can be in terms of following a religious leader without mediating any critical analysis before his suggestions or requirements. The sample consisted of 89 Puerto Rican adults, both genders (mean age = 51 years), where 90% professed the Protestant religion. The final scale consists of 14 items in a Likert format of 4 points, where greater fanaticism is related to the highest scale index. The instrument showed adequate internal consistency according to Kline (2005) (Cronbach's Alpha, =.79). We found statistically significant inverse relationships between education (Rho = -310, p <.005) and income (Rho = -300, p <.009). We suggest continuing studies to strengthen the psychometric criteria with larger and diversity samples, and administer it in multiple scenarios of religious denominations in Puerto Rico.

Author Biography

José Rodríguez-Gómez, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Carlos Albizu University, San Juan

Department of PhD Clinical Psychology, Carlos Albizu University, San Juan Campus, P.O. Box 9023711, San Juan, PR 00902-3711. Tel. 787-725-6500, Ext. 1125. E-mail:

Geriatric Education Center, School of Medicine, University of Puerto Rico, PO BOX 365067, San Juan, PR 00936-5067.