Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Glenn E. Tagatz

Second Advisor

Nick J. Topetzes

Third Advisor

William J. Kelly

Fourth Advisor

Roman S. Gawkoski

Fifth Advisor

A. Dupuis


The problem of survival and attrition among religious is in the historical mainstream of research purporting to assess personality characteristics of those drawn to that particular way of life.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether differences exist among groups of women in three stages of religious training (postulancy, novitiate, and profession), some of whom have remained in the religious community and some of whom have not.

The population for the study was drawn from among the members of a religious community of women, all of whom had completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory at the time of admission to the community. From a data pool of 959 MMPI profiles, a sample of 300 valid profiles was selected. A record was obtained from the regional archivist of the community indicating those individuals no longer in the community, and at which point in their religious training they terminated membership.

Statistical procedures utilized in the study included a single classification analysis of variance on survival and attrition groups; stepwise multiple regression equations on all three groups individually as well as a combined group; chi-square tests of significance on 2x2 contingency tables for all three groups individually as well as a combined group; and an item analysis of responses to the MMPI items of survival and attrition groups.

Results showed significant differences in two of the groups studied. A stepwise multiple regression equation yielded F-ratios on scales L and F of 11.033 and 3.284 respectively for the postulant group and, on the Pa and K scales, F-ratios of 11.353 and 6.845 respectively for the professed group. In addition, an item analysis revealed 41 items which differentiated the survival and attrition groups.

The evidence of the present investigation appears to warrant the following conclusions:

1) Among the postulant groups, those likely to leave the community during postulancy tend to score higher on the Land F scales of the MMPI.

2) Among the professed group, those most likely to remain in the community at least eight years following profession obtain higher t-scores on the Pa (paranoia) and K scales of the MMPI.

A cross-validation study of the attrition scale derived from the item analysis is recommended.



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