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Identifying Personality Features Related to Religious Vocation: A Comparison between Seminarians and their Peers Using the NEO Personality Inventory (Revised)

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Do seminarians tend to exhibit a psychological structure that differs from that of their peers? Besides the ideals and motivations behind the religious call, are there personality factors that distinguish seminarians, and perhaps predispose them to choose this religious vocation? Building on previous research with the use of NEO PI-R, and analyzing data obtained from 62 male seminarians and 49 male and 51 female psychology students, this study addresses this question. Significant differences were found on all personality factors except Neuroticism, with the seminarians most notably scoring higher on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness and lower on Openness to Experience. Besides confirming the usefulness of the Five Factor Model (FFM) for the study of religion, the results shed light on possible differences between religion and spirituality.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pastoral Theology, Liturgy & Canon Law, University of Malta MSD 2080 Malta, Email:


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