First Advisor

Robert E. Jones

Term of Graduation

Spring 1971

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Catholic Church -- Doctrines, Catholics -- Oregon -- Attitudes, Attitude (Psychology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 54 pages)


A field survey was conducted to investigate differences in attitudes toward religious changes in a population of church-going Roman Catholics. An attitude scale comprising twenty items referring to changes in the Catholic Church was prepared during pilot studies. Half of the items referred to changes already occurring, and half to proposed or possible future changes. The attitude scale was administered to a sample of parishes in the Roman Catholic diocese of Baker, Oregon. It was administered during regular Sunday services to take advantage of the saliency effect of group membership.

A response to an item of the scale indicating the subject's agreement with the change was operationally defined as a liberal response. A response indicating disagreement with change was considered a conservative response. It was hypothesized that churchgoing Catholics would be more liberal or accepting of changes already instituted in the Church than they would be of merely possible changes. The results supported this hypothesis.

Total scores on the scale were correlated with the age and education of the respondents. The results support the hypothesis that attitudes toward religious changes covary with age and education much like other social attitudes, as the younger and more educated respondents showed more liberalism or acceptance of change than did older and less educated respondents.

A detailed analysis of several items shows a wide divergence between parishoners' attitudes and ecclesiastical dogma. The results of the research also indicate that in the population surveyed there was a great deal of intragroup variation in attitudes toward religious changes.


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