Date of Award

Spring 1986

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kipfmueller, Mark

Second Advisor

Ivanoff, John

Third Advisor

Nordberg, Robert B.


This study explored assertion training with male seminarians who displayed anxiety manifestations. The study derived from literature indicating that assertion and anxiety are affected by assertion training. The literature noted that male seminary students are more anxious than the average adult male population as measured by anxiety indicators on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Those found to be more anxious were also less assertive. A reduction in the anxiety level of seminarians would have a positive effect on academic studies and their future role as parish leaders. A quasi-experimental research design required comparable groups by pretesting that were identified as experimental and control groups. Both groups were administered the Manifest Anxiety Scale and the Interpersonal Behavior Survey, Assertion Scale as a pre and posttest measure. The study was conducted in a seminary located in midwestern United States. Four hundred thirty nine students were registered in the 1984-1985 Master of Divinity program. All seminary students were required to take the MMPI when entering seminary. An anxious student was defined as one who scored a minimum of one standard deviation above the means of student's scores on Scale 7 (Pt) and at the mean or above on Scale 2 (De). Twenty students were chosen to participate in the study. The experimental group (N = 10) were assigned to a five week assertion training program. The data were subjected to two statistical procedures: the Pearson Product Moment Correlation and the Analysis of Covariance. No significant difference was found between anxiety and assertion in male seminarians by the initial testing. There was no significant difference in the control group scores on assertion and anxiety in pre and posttesting. The experimental group indicated no difference in assertion scores but revealed a significance in the anxiety scores on pre and posttesting (P < .05). It appears that the assertion training program had an effect on reducing anxiety. The results of the study suggested that a relationship exists between assertion training and anxiety. These findings have implications for those who are training to be ministerial leaders.



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