Date of Award

Fall 1972

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Nordberg, Robert B.

Second Advisor

Ivanoff, John

Third Advisor

Niemiec, Carl


The problem of identifying seminarian personality and the Church's growing need to differentiate survival and attrition groups have produced a large body of research. Rigorous predictive studies have been relatively few and there has been little replication of suggested findings. The purpose of this study was to conduct an investigation of the survival-attrition problem, attempting both to replicate previous findings and handling the obtained data in a rigorous manner. This study consisted of an attempt to use personality and biographical variables as measured by the MMPI and Behavioral Services data forms to discriminate two groups of seminarians: those who had remained in an order to at least the point of perpetual vows and those who had dropped out before that point (having remained a minimum of six months). An analysis of variance was performed on the two groups (N = 40 stay-ins; N = 40 dropouts) using thirteen MMPI scale variables, The Sc scale was the only significant differentiator; the attrition group showed uniformly greater psychopathology. A discriminant analysis equation using scales Pd, Sc and Ma yielded a bi-serial correlation of ·.35. T - tests on the means of the individual scales revealed Sc to be the only significant predictor of the criterion dichotomy. Of fifty-seven biographical variables studied only two significantly differentiated the two groups, a finding which may have chance accountability. An MMPI item analysis elicited a scale composed of fifty-four items which significantly differentiated the criterion groups. Upon replication the scale yielded a similar level of significance in differentiation. The Survival Attrition Scale is recommended to researchers who work with similar religious groups. Generally seminarians appear to be well adjusted. Despite similar personality profiles there is some evidence of greater maladjustment on the part of individuals who leave seminaries as opposed to those who remain. The ability of the seminarian to survive in religious life appears related to personality variables which, if appropriately measured, should be useful in understanding the individual student and, to a certain degree, predicting his seminary tenure.



Restricted Access Item

Having trouble?