Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




The study was designed to investigate the theory that individuals who believe their environment to be compatible with their own self-concept will be happy and satisfied in that environment. Individuals who view their environment to be inconsistent with their self-concept will be dissatisfied and wish to leave that environment. A sample of Roman Catholic priests rated the concepts, self, ideal-self and the Church on an adapted semantic differential scale. Difference scores were cal-culated for each subject for three concept pairs: self-ideal-self, self-church, and ideal-self-church. In addition the subjects responded to three measures of adjustment; a sentence completion form, a standardized self-actualization scale, and a specially designed question-naire, they also answered a series of questions measuring their opinion of the church and their satisfaction with the priesthood.

The subjects were subdivided into four developmental categories: developed, developing, underdeveloped and maldeveloped, on the basis of a clinical interview conducted by trained psychologists they were again divided into three groups according to large, small, or moderate self-ide•l-self difference scores. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated between self-ideal-self differences and the three measures of adjustment and between the self-church and ideal-self-church differences and the measures of satisfaction with the Church and priesthood.

When all the subjects were taken as a group only the sentence completion form as a measure of adjustment was substantially correlated with self-ideal-self differences. However, when the subjects were divided into the four developmental groups, the indicator of self-actualization was substantially correlated with self-ideal-self differences for the developing and maldeveloped subjects.

When the subjects were divided into groups according to the degree of self-ideal difference, the subjects in the moderate difference group showed the strongest correlation with the measure of self-actualization. This supported pre-vious findings which suggested that both low and high self-ideal differences correlate less well with measures of adjustment than do the moderate self-ideal differences. When all of the subjects were taken together the self-church and ideal-self-church differences did not correlate well with any of the indicators of satisfaction with the priesthood. However, it was shown that developed priests who saw a similarity between themselves and the Church saw the church to be a more traditional institution, while maldeveloped subjects seeing a similarity between the self and the Church wanted the Church to be a more person-oriented agent for social reform.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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