Examining Admission and Formation Outcomes for Catholic Clergy Applicants With the MMPI-2-RF: A Prospective Study

Paul B. Ingram, Anthony Isacco, Nicholas C. Borgogna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Psychological evaluations of clergy applicants to the Catholic Church are an important gatekeeping mechanism during the admission process. However, limited research exists on the validity of assessments for this evaluative purpose and none have examined the predictive utility of the MMPI-2-RF to determine if an applicant will be accepted to formation, or if they ultimately ordained. This study fills that gap in the literature by investigating the predictive validity of MMPI-2-RF scales in 147 male applicants evaluated as part of their application for seminary or diaconate formation programs in a mid-sized Catholic diocese in the United States. Group analyses (e.g., Kruskal–Wallis tests) with admission status as the independent variable and MMPI-2-RF scales as the dependent variables yielded significant differences, most notably, those participants not admitted had higher mean scores on F-r, Fp-r, EID, RC7, THD, RC8, RC1, MLS, NUC, and JCP than the other three groups. Relative risk ratios were estimated for all MMPI-2-RF scales, indicating that higher scores are generally associated with a lower likelihood of admission and, ultimately, ordination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-879
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Assessment
Volume33
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Catholic clergy applicants
  • Deacons
  • Mmpi-2-rf
  • Priests

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