Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date

1971

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Robert M. Dimit

Abstract

This study was developed as the result of a long-term interest in occupational choice. The basic problem of the study was the nature of the relations between influences perceived by seminarians on their occupational choice, and their occupational specialization. The basic objective was to explore the nature and extent of this relation. Literature was reviewed dealing with the relation of reference groups to classical and contemporary theory. Literature related to reference theory dealing with medical students and ministerial specialization was also dealt with. The basic theoretical model used was that of Merton. He related reference group theory to the occupational choice process of medical students, using empirical research. The frame of reference selected for the study was that of Mead and Sherif. Research hypotheses were derived from the review of literature. A questionnaire was developed, drawing on instruments used by Merton and Scherer. A number of individuals knowledgeable about various ministerial occupations were used as a panel to develop questions dealing with these specializations. This instrument was pretested on 52 preseminary students at Valparaiso University in February 1970. The questionnaire was evaluated and refined as a result of this test. Respondents consisted of students in four Chicago area seminaries, three in the St. Louis area, and two in Northern Indiana. In April 1970, 366 seminarians were interviewed. They completed the questionnaire in a group setting. The data collected constituted the basis of analysis. The chi-square test was selected, with level of significance set at the .05 level. Relationships tested were primarily two categories of occupational specialization. The aspirational category dealt with those specializations in which seminarians would like to work. The expectational category included specializations they expected to be performing. Research hypotheses were put into null form for testing. Conclusions were as follows: 1. There was significant association between influences perceived as significant by seminarians, and their occupational specialization aspirations. 2. There was significant association between influences perceived as significant by seminarians, and their occupational specialization expectations. 3. There was significant association between socioeconomic factors and occupational specialization aspirations. 4. There was significant association between socioeconomic factors and occupational specialization expectations. 5. There was significant association between socioeconomic factors and influences perceived by seminarians as significant. 6. There was significant association between socioeconomic factors. The only reference person of more than slight influence on the individual’s decision to enter seminary was the minister. But reference motivations, particularly divine call and concern for social and community problems, were perceived as strongly influencing this decision. While doctrinal liberals, conservatives and moderates gave strong response to traditional ministries, conservatives gave these greater emphasis. Liberals scored higher for new ministries as well as specializations of the traditional parish ministry. Traditional ministries are general, undifferentiated parish ministries. New ministries are recent, non-congregation specializations, such as ministries to addicts and to people living in high-rise apartments. Specializations of the parish ministry are found in parish-centered counseling and religious education specializations. The overwhelming selection of traditional parish ministries reflects the actual positions available for employment of graduating seminarians. The research was limited by the fact that not all denominations were represented. Generalizations must be limited to the central Midwest. This study dealt with impressions of those undergoing training for a profession rather than those actually working within it. Occupational aspirations and expectations may change considerably once seminarians actually enter their occupation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Seminarians
Vocational interests

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

203

Publisher

South Dakota State University

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