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Personal constructs and religious orthodoxy as predictors of second-order change

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Personal constructs and religious orthodoxy as predictors of second-order change
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Semmes, LaurelSandberg, 1963-
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College students ( jstor )
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Goldsmithing ( jstor )
Marriage counseling ( jstor )
Orthodoxy ( jstor )
Psychological counseling ( jstor )
Psychology of religion ( jstor )
Psychotherapy ( jstor )
Religion ( jstor )
Religious orthodoxy ( jstor )
Counselor Education thesis, Ph. D ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Counselor Education -- UF ( lcsh )
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1997.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 122-131).
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Typescript.
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Vita.
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by Laurel Sandberg Semmes.

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PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS AND RELIGIOUS ORTHODOXY AS PREDICTORS OF SECOND-ORDER CHANGE












By

LAUREL SANDBERG SEMMES












A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1997














ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Ellen Amatea, the Chairperson of my doctoral committee, for her patience and constant willingness to provide support and guidance. One of the greatest challenges in completing this degree and document have been my geographical distance from the University and its resources and the distractions that accompany the outset of a career. As I have learned about relative priorities and the importance of "owning" the process, Dr. Amatea has always been available with guidance, valuable information, and support of my academic talents and abilities.

The portion of the dissertation process that was conducted in Charleston, South Carolina, was in constant competition with other valuable aspects of my career development. I am grateful to my friends for their support and understanding, especially Dr. Robert Marsden Knight and Dr. Steven Peene. Their understanding of the steps toward completion and their empathy for the process helped to replace the valuable cohort group left behind in Gainesville, Florida.

I am very thankful for the statistical guidance provided by Dr. David Miller, who also served on my doctoral committee, Kathy Phlegar, and Cathy McClellan Hombo. They helped me look at methodological issues and explore further possibilities for research concerning religious issues and the instruments used in this study.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Dr. Peter Sherrard and Dr. Joseph Wittmer for their aid with both the topic of my dissertation and the process. They both have



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valuable knowledge and experience from which to speak on religious issues, and were asked to participate on this committee in part because of their unique backgrounds.

Finally, I will remember with gratitude on a daily basis the logistical, financial, and emotional support provided by my husband and other members of my family. My husband, Robert Howard Semmes, II, was able to help me clarify my priorities and focus on valued long-term goals. My mother, Phyllis Durbin Sandberg, has exhibited constant faith in my abilities and the eventual completion of this and other accomplishments in my life. And, finishing this project is, in part, a gift to my father, Captain Dr. Emanuel Wilson Sandberg, Jr., for his inspiration and example.
































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TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOW LEDGEM ENTS .... ........................................................................ ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS..................................................... iv
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................. vi
CHAPTERS
I INTRODUCTION ............................................................ ........................... 1
Scope of the Problem .............................................................. .................. 3
Theoretical Framework ............................................................................. 6
Need for the Study..................................................................................... 12
Purpose of the Study................................................................................ 13
General Research Questions..................................................................... 14
Definition of Terms .................................................................................. 15
Organization of the Study......................................................................... 19
II REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..................................................................... 20
Religion .................................................................................................... 20
Values..................................................................................... .................. ...... 22
Constructivist Study of Values And M eaning................................. .... 25
Value Convergence Research............................................. 26
Religious Orientation ................................................................................ 27
Implications for Religious Culture Research .............................................. 32
Personal Construct Theory ....................................................................... 34
Construct Hierarchy.................................................... 39
M easuring First- and Second-Order Change ........................................ .... 41
Instrumentation........................................... ..................................................... 44
Implications of Change Grid ..................................... .... .............. 44
Religious Orthodoxy ................................................................................... 47
Change Index............................................................................................... 50
Demographic Variables ........................................................................... 52
Summary ................................................. ................................................ 52
III M ETHODOLOGY ...................................................... 54
Research Design ............................................................................................. 55
Independent variables ................................................... .............................. 56
Dependent Variable ..................................................................................... 56
Descriptor Variables.......................................... ....................................... 57
Research Hypotheses.......................................................................................... 57
Population ................................................................................................. 58



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Sampling Procedures ................................................................................ 58
Recruitment of Participants ......................................................................... 58
Sampling Criteria ........................................................................................ 59
Resultant Sample .................................................................................. 60
Data Collection Procedures ............................................................................. 62
Instrum entation................................................................................................... 63
Implications of Change Grid ................................................................... 63
Short Form of the Christian Orthodoxy Scale ............................................. 68
C hange Index......................................... ................................................... 69
Demographic Data Questionnaire ........................................ .......... 70
D ata A nalysis ........................................... .................................................... 71
Summary ................................................................. 71
IV R E SU LTS........................................................................................................... 72
Analysis of Hypothesis I...................................................... 73
Analysis of Hypothesis II ......................................................................... 75
Analysis of Hypothesis III ....................................................................... 76
Analysis of Hypothesis IV....................................................................... 77
Post Hoc Analysis .................................................................................... 79
Summary ....................................................................84
V D ISCU SSIO N ........................................... ................................................... 86
Discussion of Results ................................................................................ 87
L im itations ......................................................................................................... 91
Post Hoc Analyses....................................................... 94
Im plications ............................................. ..................................................... 95
Recommendations .................................................................................... 99
APPENDICES
A IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGE GRID.................................. 103
Instructions (read aloud by test administrator) ..................................... 103
Section I........................................................................................................ 104
Section II .............................................. 104
Section III ............................................. 105
B SHORT CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY SCALE............................. 110
C CHANGE INDEX .......................................................................................... 112
D DEMOGRAPHICS QUESTIONAIRE ..................................... 117
E APPROVAL OF HUMAN SUBJECTS COMMITTEE.................... 119
F INFORMED CONSENT............................................................................... 121
REFERENCES ................................................................................................ 122
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................ 132






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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS AND RELIGIOUS ORTHODOXY
AS PREDICTORS OF SECOND-ORDER CHANGE By

Laurel Sandberg Semmes

May 1997
Chair: Ellen Amatea, Ph.D.
Major Department: Counselor Education

The primary objective of this study was to utilize Personal Construct Theory to explore the relationships between the degree of religious orthodoxy; the degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy system; and the openness to second-order change for young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. The goal was the description of a statistical model which would enable a counseling practitioner to predict openness to second-order change from understanding a client's construct system structure and their degree of orthodoxy. The professional literature regarding these variables predicted that individuals are loath to change constructs that are highly connected to their core, identity-defining constructs, and that those with highly connected construct systems have many more seemingly peripheral constructs that are highly connected to the core. Those whose religious beliefs are orthodox, by definition,





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cherish a set of stable, relatively unchanging beliefs and would be less willing to change with regards to any constructs connected to those sacred beliefs.

This study compared measures of construct hierarchy structure connectedness (through the use of the Implications of Change grid), degree of religious orthodoxy (through the use of the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale), and openness to second-order change (through the use of the Change Index, designed for the purposes of this study) for a sample (N=60) of young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. Although the data analysis of participant responses did not support the hypotheses as measured on this sample, there are theoretical and methodological explanations for the disparity between predictions and results. These possible explanations include the homogeneity of the sample with regards to religious orthodoxy, the potential psychometric shortcomings of the Change Index, the probable influence of the developmental stage of undergraduate college students between the ages of 18 and 25, the abstract nature and complexity of the Implications of Change grid, and the common tendency to withhold beliefs or "fake good" when addressing cherished values with an unfamiliar person (i.e., the researcher). These and other issues may have influenced participant responses and, hence, the results of data analyses.
















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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

Counseling professionals have devoted much attention to the challenge of cultural diversity and its implications for counseling ethnically diverse clients. However, a focus on religious diversity, or more specifically on the influence and characteristics of Christian religious culture, especially orthodox Christian culture, lags behind (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Worthington, 1991; Ingram, 1995). How do the values and beliefs of the highly religious shape their perceptions of their world, their standards for action, or their behavior? Counseling theories and methods are needed that apply adequately to orthodox, highly religious clients, illuminating the impact of such beliefs and values on the process of personal growth and change. This knowledge is as important to the quality of service delivery to religious individuals, as it is to counseling with clients of any unfamiliar culture (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Bergin & Jensen, 1990; Sandage, Wibberly, & Worthington, 1995; Tan, 1994; Weaver, Koenig, & Larson, 1997).

As psychologists, we would like to know more about the consequences of devout, intrinsic belief before coming to any conclusion. We need to know more about what such beliefs do for the individual, both in terms of personal adjustment, satisfaction and happiness, and in terms of ability to respond positively and openly
to a wider range of people and situations. (Batson & Ventis, 1982, p. 207)

Many social analysts believe that in the future counselors will be increasingly forced to address religious issues (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Worthington, 1991). Worthington (1991) supports these claims with the following observations: a) in the past two decades religious people have become more vocal about their beliefs and practices;


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b) the number of religious cults has increased, creating a need for counselors with an understanding of such dynamics for those that leave the cult or are peripheral to it; c) the influx of immigrants into the United States has resulted in communities of diverse religious beliefs; and, d) the combination of new telecommunications technology and increased cultural diversity creates a pressure to understand and tolerate alternative philosophies and religions. Counselors can anticipate having more and more opportunities to interact with clients whose religious faith is a pervasive organizer of their lives. Worthington advises that counselors examine and articulate strategies for treating religious concerns in counseling (1988, 1991) and prepare themselves and future counselors through research regarding the effectiveness of strategies developed for this population (1994).

One pathway toward more fully understanding the thoughts and concerns of the highly religious lies in going beyond issues of content in the study of values (i.e., isolating and evaluating particular values or types of values). Current researchers suggest that certain structures of value systems, regardless of any particular value content, can reveal more about an individual's use of those values and the way they can be applied in clinical practice (Hinkle, 1965; Kelly, 1955; Worthington, 1988). This relationship between how an individual organizes their values and how this organization, or structure, influences that individual's decisions regarding change is key to facilitating change in a therapeutic context. George Kelly (1955), in his theory of personal constructs, focuses on the nature of the organization of personal beliefs and values into personal construct hierarchies, and offers a means to explain how value system structures may influence the counseling process.





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Knowledge of such client value structures may increase a counseling professional's ability to accurately determine the most appropriate avenues of change for orthodox Christian clients. In his recent research on the relationship between constructivist (e.g., Personal Construct theory) and rationalist counseling theories (e.g., cognitive-behavioral or rational emotive therapies), Lyddon (1992) discusses a difference in types of change practiced by each. A counselor's priority on one or the other type of change dictates the course of counseling, from goal generation to assessment of effectiveness. The type of change preferred by an individual, and potentially the most effective, may be closely associated with construct hierarchy structure (Hinkle, 1965; Lyddon, 1992; Neimeyer, n.d.), and hence crucial to the process and outcome of counseling.

In this study, the influence of client value structure on the process of personal change in Christians varying in levels of religious orthodoxy was explored. More specifically, interrelationships among the individual's construct system structure, their degree of orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred was examined.


Scope of the Problem

The influence of Christian religion has been important to many, if not most, Americans since the formation of this nation as an alliance of colonies. Much of the immigration to the "new world" was to escape the Protestant persecution of minority sects (Morison, Commager & Leuchtenburg, 1980). At that time in history, each of the colonies was largely homogeneous, immigrating from a single region of Europe and holding to a particular set of beliefs. Technology and continual migration have served to barrage once isolated communities with an increasing variety of beliefs, religious, philosophical, and otherwise (Gergen, 1991). However, Christian religion has remained





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pervasive in its cultural influence (Bergin, 1980; Butler, 1990; Fukuyama, 1990, 1990; Worthington, 1991; Weaver et al., 1997), and particularly so with those who hold conservative, or orthodox, Christian religious beliefs.

A subgroup within the broader Christian religion, which itself encompasses a great deal of diversity, is that of the highly religious, or orthodox, Christian. This subgroup shares a great deal in common, regardless of the variation, which is demonstrated through individual member's choice of doctrine or religious practices. One commonality is at the level of their approach to their faith: the orthodox, or conservative believers, whether charismatic, fundamentalist, Catholic, Jewish, or Hindu, are driven by a consecration of historic ways of practicing or believing. With an orthodox individual, a certain set of beliefs is canonized, often becoming, in itself, as sacred as the deity it recognizes (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982; Morris, 1981). Hence, core beliefs and values are afforded the status of the sacred.

A review of empirical literature from 1974 to 1984 (Worthington, 1986) revealed that highly religious Christian clients have two primary fears about counseling: a) that their cherished values will be changed, and b) that they will be misunderstood or misdiagnosed based on an outsider's interpretation of those values. Although evidence does not support the occurrence or tendency of counselors to misdiagnose (Houts & Graham, 1986; Lewis & Lewis, 1985; Worthington, 1991; Worthington & Scott, 1983), it does reflect the influence of counseling to produce change in client values. Counselor values influence everything from the choice of counseling goals to subtle approval or disapproval of client values (Beutler, 1979). Although the mutual influence of values





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experienced during the process of counseling can be conducive to client change, it can also be threatening and provoke resistance, sometimes ending counseling prematurely.

Based on his understanding of religious values, Worthington (1991) provides a list of suggestions concerning research and counseling with orthodox, highly religious Christian clients. First, he suggests that the scholarly study of religious values in counseling must investigate extant theories and propose new theories about highly religious clients from a variety of faiths. Second, he contends that counselors must develop or utilize more theories that explain and support an empirical understanding of values, both secular and religious. Third, Worthington suggests that counselors realize that religious clients make distinctions that are emotionally important to them and those they affiliate with. "Conservative and liberal Christians do not often behave similarly in religious matters--even those who are equally committed" (1991, p. 219). Thus, we must adopt a "modified insider perspective" (1991, p. 219) on the needs of the highly religious. Finally, Worthington recommends that counselors and researchers should make explicit the procedures that protect clients from unwarranted value intrusion by counselors, and allow for the inclusion of religious issues in counseling as deemed appropriate by the client.

The type of educated attention that Worthington (1991) advocates requires strategies for needs assessment and goal generation in counseling. Clients tend to present requesting either first- or second-order changes, based on their beliefs about their needs and what they deem to be helpful. First-order change is what has been referred to as "change without change," and focuses on skill acquisition and symptom reduction (Lyddon, 1990; Neimeyer, n.d.; Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch, 1974). This type of





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change requires no change in the client's rules regarding change. Second-order change predicates on a change in client beliefs, and is often helpful in addressing questions of identity and values.

This distinction between first- and second-order change can serve to guide the application of new found knowledge regarding the influence of conservative religious beliefs. As in work with any "foreign" belief systems, to have maximum influence the counselor must accommodate to, and therapeutically utilize, a client's central values and beliefs. How does one determine which beliefs are central for a highly religious Christian client? How do these beliefs, and the manner in which they are connected, operate to influence decision making and an individual's receptiveness to differing change strategies? How can counselors accommodate, rather than discourage, client beliefs in a way that maximizes therapeutic change and growth? And, how can the goals for change reflect an acknowledgment of construct structure and relative connectedness and the importance of religious beliefs?


Theoretical Framework

The areas of research which can contribute to an adequate exploration of such questions are diverse. The theory base for this study includes information on religious phenomenon as well as on the function of values, whether religious or otherwise. In this study, the researcher utilized Kelly's Personal Construct theory to illuminate the role of values and value structures within the broader context of personality and the process of personal change. The researcher then explored the use of construct methodology as a practical approach to religious Christian client assessment, description, and therapeutic goal generation.





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In recent history, efforts have been made to develop theories to explain the convictions of religious individuals and the role that religious belief plays in their daily actions and personalities. One influential theory, articulating the concept of religious orientation, was developed by Gordon Allport (1950, 1954) in an effort to explain prejudice in terms of religious maturity. Later empirical research (Allport & Ross, 1967) established the usefulness of his concept of religious orientation to differentiate "intrinsics," those whose religious values are central and highly influential on their behavior and other beliefs, and "extrinsics," those whose religious beliefs are peripheral and dependent on external variables.

Batson and his colleagues expanded this descriptive typology to include the concept of "questing" (Batson, 1976; Batson, Naifeh & Pate, 1978; Batson & Ventis, 1982). Batson understood Allport's intrinsics to be potentially dogmatic, and created a new category for religious individuals who were continually open to changes in beliefs. Batson adapted Allport's scales for measuring intrinsics and extrinsics, adding questions intended to address tolerance for doubt and tentativeness in beliefs (Batson & Ventis, 1982).

Goldsmith and his colleagues (Goldsmith, Goldsmith & Foster, 1986; Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991; Park & Goldsmith, 1985) saw a limitation in Batson's research stemming from his choice of subjects. Repeating Batson's research with a sample limited to highly religious subjects, Goldsmith and colleagues found the highly religious to be best described as demonstrating a combination of intrinsic and questing orientations: "having a core of centrally held, largely coherent religious beliefs that were not open to change,"





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yet "many of their less central beliefs were open to changes" (Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991, p. 228).

This stratification of beliefs according to function and openness to change is reflected as well in Worthington's research regarding highly religious clients (Worthington, 1988, 1989). He describes them as having a set of "salient" beliefs, with which one interprets and evaluates themselves, others, and the environment. An individual's salient beliefs, like Goldsmith's core beliefs (1991), are surrounded by a "zone of toleration," reflecting the degree to which discrepant values can be tolerated in others. This zone, he speculates, becomes restricted and brittle when the individual is under emotional distress.

Similar stratification is demonstrated in the work of Beutler (Beutler, 1981; Beutler, Crago & Arizmendi, 1986) concerning the convergence of values in the process of therapy. He found that the values held by counselors and clients tended to converge during the process of therapy, and that the convergence of certain values was more relevant to overall therapeutic improvement. He labeled these relevant values to be of "medium centrality," referring to the relative importance of the values in the client's value systems.

All of these researchers hypothesize common attributes of religious, and particularly highly religious, individuals concerning their belief systems: a) that beliefs are organized in "levels" which differ in their relative importance, b) that certain levels of beliefs are more flexible and open to influence from exterior sources, and c) that certain beliefs are stable and resistant to influence, occupying a central role in personality and approach to life. A corollary of this third attribute is that change to these central beliefs





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and values could have a potentially disorganizing and destructive effect on the individual and their personality.

At the heart of any therapeutic intervention is the importance of client trust and comfort. Because beliefs and values are inseparable from interactions with others, and central to development of trust, it is imperative that counselors gain some appreciation for the distinctive values and beliefs of highly religious Christian clients. One framework for conceptualizing and assessing the nature, and relative primacy, of client beliefs is that of George Kelly's (1955) Personal Construct theory of personality. Although it has not been utilized in this line of research, it can potentially add a great deal. It offers both a complete theory of personality, one that addresses the influence of values and value structures on the process of growth, development, and change, and a methodology which allows one to isolate salient beliefs, or core constructs, differentiating them from more peripheral beliefs.

Use of Kelly's theory to address religious questions also answers Ingram's challenge to "address some of the issues currently ablaze in the modern/postmodern arenas of discourses" (1995, p. 3). This challenge calls those who research Christian issues to use postmodern (e.g., constructivist) epistemology to generate new questions about long-standing issues. Ingram, who looks toward the development of substantive theory regarding Christian beliefs and psychotherapy, predicts that the next "wave" of development will rely on postmodern paradigms.

Personal Construct Theory (PCT) (Kelly, 1955) is a theory soundly grounded in postmodern epistemology, which proposes that our psychological processes are organized by a vast series of distinctions about the similarity and dissimilarity of objects, people,





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and experiences. These distinctions take the form of bipolar constructs, each pole of which articulates, verbally or nonverbally, our appraisal of ways in which things can differ or resemble each other. An individual utilizes their constructs to anticipate future events, based upon their interpretation of past events, increasing their ability to predict and control elements of their existence.

Each of these constructs have valence, indicating the pole of the construct which an individual prefers to apply to themselves. As such, these constructs, or interpretive schemas, function to reflect our values and identity through our choice of which is better, and our appraisal regarding how we stand in relation to that choice (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975; Horley, 1991). Thus, values are closely related to constructs, as both function as a means of appraisal to define aspects of identity (Horley, 1991; Rokeach, 1973, 1980).

Personal constructs are organized by an individual into hierarchies based on their estimation of the construct's salience in day-to-day living. Higher level, or core, constructs are ones upon which we rely to define our identity, or role. These "superordinate" constructs are tied to "subordinate" constructs by a chain of implications. One cannot change oneself in relation to a superordinate construct without affecting all of those subordinate to it, meaning that change in one construct can imply a necessary change other constructs that are connected. The number of implications that tie one construct to another indicates the degree of connectedness within the hierarchy system (Crockett & Meisel, 1974), and offers the practitioner insight into the implications of change. Kelly verbalized the power of this process as follows:

Now it so happens that a person must occasionally decide what to do about remodeling his [construct] system. He may find the job long overdue. How much can he tear down and still have a roof over his head? How disruptive will a new set





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of ideas be? Dare he jeopardize the system in order to replace some of its constituent parts? Here is the point at which he must choose between preserving the integrity of the system and replacing one of its obviously faulty parts.
Sometimes his anticipation of events will be more effective if he chooses to conserve the system. It is precisely at this point that the psychotherapist may fail to understand why his client is so resistive. It is also at this point that he may do his
client harm. (Kelly, 1955, p. 58)

Change, if it is to take place at all, happens within the confines of an individual's construct system. Any changes affect either an individual's stance with regards to a current construct or effectively replace currents with different, potentially more effective, constructs. However, a counseling professional's influence of a client's core constructs, in an effort to facilitate change, can potentially have a variety of effects which have been evident historically in work with orthodox Christian clients: fear, resistance, premature termination, and inability to form an adequate therapeutic bond. Construct hierarchy structure and connectedness of constructs indicate the strength of relationship between relevant constructs and cherished aspects of an individual's identity, hence are crucial to treatment planning and effective facilitation of change (Dempsey & Neimeyer, 1995).

One way the importance of beliefs and construct hierarchies become manifest is in the selection of goals for change. The distinction between first-order and second-order change may prove useful for the practitioner when assessing needs and generating goals. Lyddon and Alford (1993) have developed an heuristic regarding the relationship between first- and second-order change and the goal formation process. Individuals for whom first-order change is indicated "exhibit a secure attachment style, and are comfortable with their core assumptions about self and world," whereas second-order change "involves a restructuring of a client's personal identity and most basic assumptions about self and world" (1993, p. 39).





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Lyddon and Alford (1993) go on to discuss the approach to counseling best suited to each type of change, as well as the dilemma that arises when the counselor's goals differ from the client's. They advise that the goals selected by the client be honored, with a renegotiation of therapeutic contract before any change in goals is made. If the client chooses first-order change goals against the recommendation of the counselor for secondorder goals, the therapeutic bond can be maintained by honoring the original contract, leaving trust intact for a future date when the client may choose to reevaluate core beliefs.


Need for the Study

The nature and influence of the constructs which are central in the life of highly religious Christian clients must be explored so that counselors might more fully understand how such constructs guide client's lives and relationships. Determining if there are differences in the nature and structure of the beliefs of religious individuals differing in their religious orthodoxy could be a first step toward designing counseling interventions more appropriate to religious individuals.

The second step addressed by the researcher in this study was the practical application of information regarding the relationship between religious orthodoxy and construct hierarchy structure. This relationship becomes most relevant in the initial goal setting process of counseling. Construct hierarchy structure may manifest itself in selection of treatment goals, such as implicit preference for changes of the first-order rather than the second-order. Mismatch of treatment goals may explain the threat experienced by religious clients regarding an imminent change of valued constructs or misdiagnosis of the presenting problem (Worthington, 1986).





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The work of George Kelly (1955), and those theorists who have contributed to the development and application of his Personal Construct theory of personality, offer a way to measure the role of constructs and construct hierarchies in the selection of treatment goals for religiously orthodox Christian clients. However, there had been no efforts to apply Personal Construct Theory to examine the nature of values of religious individuals, prior to this study, although researchers have suggested that personal construct measures might help interpret and illuminate the interrelationship of values (Horley, 1991). Similarly, there had been no previous efforts to correlate scores on Hinkle's Implications of Change grid with measures of first and second-order change preference. The benefit of these efforts reside in their ability to map the religious individual's value domain and to increase clinical knowledge regarding the relationships between the structure of that value system, the degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of change preferred by an individual.


Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to utilize Kelly's Personal Construct Theory to examine the nature of the construct system of those individuals differing in their degree of religious orthodoxy, and the impact these variables have on the process of change. More specifically, possible associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure, degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students were examined. The researcher used the statistical analysis of instrument scores to describe the relationships between personal construct connectedness, degree of religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and particular demographic variables (i.e., gender, race, religious denomination, personal





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counseling history, major, and grade level). The importance of this study relies on the usefulness of the following: a) the utilization of construct methodology to measure the degree of connectedness among the constructs of religious individuals, b) a description of the relationships between construct connectedness, religious orthodoxy, and type of change preferred, c) generation of a predictive model, through statistical regression, to determine the type of change preferred by a particular individual based on their constructs and degree of orthodoxy, and d) a description of the relationship of the key research variables to gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level.


General Research Questions

This study describes associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure, degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. To this end, the following research questions were posed:

1. Is there a relationship between an individual's degree of connectedness in construct hierarchy structure and their degree of orthodoxy?

2. Is there a relationship between an individual's degree of connectedness in construct hierarchy structure and the type of change that individual prefers?

3. Is there a relationship between an individual's degree of religious orthodoxy and the type of change that individual prefers?

4. Are there relationships between an individual's degree of connectedness, religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and selected demographics (gender, religious denomination, race, personal counseling history, major, and grade level)?





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Definition of Terms

The following terms will be defined according to their application in this study.

1. Anxiety Anxiety is produced by the "recognition that events with which one is confronted lie outside the range of convenience of one's construct system" (Kelly, 1955, p. 495).

2. Bipolar Construct The nature of constructs, as they are proposed by Kelly (1955), requires that each includes two polarized concepts, which an individual idiosyncratically construes as opposites. The bipolar nature of constructs allows one to distinguish and articulate both similarity and difference.

3. Charismatic Charismatic individuals are those which belong to a religious movement that emphasizes divinely inspired powers or gifts, such as healing or prophecy (Morris, 1981).

4. Connectedness Construct connectedness is the "degree to which pairs of individual constructs are connected by strong inferential relationships" (Horley, 1991, p. 291). Connectedness will be operationalized in this study as the total number of implications indicated by an individual on the Implications of Change grid (Hinkle, 1965).

5. Conservative Conservative, in this study, is used to describe a quality of religious beliefs (see definition of Orthodox).

6. Construct A construct is a representation of the universe erected by a living creature and then tested, in terms of predictive efficacy, against the reality of that universe (Kelly, 1955).





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7. Construct System Hierarchy Construct system hierarchy refers to the ordinal relationship between the constructs of an individual's construct system (Kelly, 1955).

8. Construct System A construct system is a grouping of constructs in which incompatibilities and inconsistencies have been minimized, ensuring avoidance of contradictory predictions (Kelly, 1955).

9. Constructive Alternativism Constructive Alternativism is a philosophical stance which relies on the assumption that all present interpretations of the universe are subject to revision or replacement. Because people can represent, or place interpretations upon, their environment, they can also place alternative interpretations upon it (Kelly, 1955).

10. Constructivism Constructivism refers to the epistemological assertion that humans actively create their personal and social realities, and that "knowledge" is inherently subjective and fallible (Lyddon, 1992).

11. Core Construct A core construct is one which governs the individual's maintenance of cognitive processes (Fransella & Bannister, 1977), constraining and enabling cherished aspects of identity.

12. Core Role Constructs Core role constructs define the idiosyncratic ways in which an individual understands themself (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).

13. Doctrine A doctrine is a body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group (Morris, 1981).

14. Elements Kelly uses the term "element" to refer to things or events that are abstracted or understood in terms of a particular construct (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).





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15. Epistemology An epistemology is a study of knowledge and knowing (Mahoney, 1991) which seeks to address fundamental questions about the sources, nature, and validity of knowledge (Lyddon, 1992).

16. Foci of Convenience The points within its realm of events where a system or theory tends to predict most efficiently are referred to as the foci of convenience (Kelly, 1955).

17. Fragmentation Construct system fragmentation is a process of system disorganization characterized by constructs that are too flexible or inconsistently applied to be adequately predictive (Kelly, 1955).

18. Guilt The experience of guilt arises from an individual's awareness of dislodgment of the self from their core role structure (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).

19. Highly Religious Highly religious individuals are defined by Worthington (1991) as those who value the authority of Scripture, ecclesiastical leaders, and the norms of his or her religious group.

20. Integrated An individual who has a well-integrated construct system is Capable of making efficient choices. Integration is the product of a functional hierarchy (Landfield & Cannell, 1988), assigning relative priority and meaning based on connectedness of constructs. Overly rigid connections between constructs diminish flexibility, and extremely "loose," or disconnected, constructs make life and actions unpredictable.

21. Orthodox Individuals who are orthodox persist in the inherited forms of a codified practice. An orthodox Christian "remains faithful to the original and authentic formulation of a teaching, to the vigorous preservation of a consecrated practice, as





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opposed to those who alter the original authenticity or depart from it" (Yannaras, 1992, p. 85).

22. Organization When speaking of a construct system, organizaton is the "inferred capacity to employ vertical arrangements of constructs" (Kelly, 1955, p. 77).

23. Peripheral Construct A peripheral construct is one that can be altered without serious modification of core constructs (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).

24. Personal Construct Theory Personal Construct Theory is a theory of personality proposed by George Kelly (1955) which describes identity and experience as a manifestation of one's idiosyncratic interpretations (i.e., "constructs").

25. Permeability Permeability refers to the capacity of a construct to embrace new elements. A completely impermeable construct would be made up of certain specified elements and not be open to extending its range of convenience (Kelly, 1955).

26. Range of Convenience Range of convenience, as used by Kelly (1955), refers to the range of things or events (i.e., elements) to which a construct may be applied with maximum predictive efficiency.

27. Rationalism Rationalism is an epistemological stance which regards thought as superior to sense, and the most effective in determining experience (Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988).

28. Rigid A rigid use of personal constructs refers to consistent application of certain constructs or means of construing without regard for fit or predictive efficacy (Kelly, 1955).

29. Sacred An item or person is sacred if it is dedicated to, or set apart for, the worship of a deity (Morris, 1981).






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30. Salient A salient aspect is one that is conspicuous or prominent.

31. Structure Structure refers to the body of constructs held by an individual, characteristically arranged within hierarchies (Kelly, 1955).

32. Threat According to Kelly (1955), threat is provoked by an awareness of an imminent comprehensive change in one's core construing structures (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).

33. Valence Determination of valence depends on the positive or negative evaluation made by an individual regarding the poles of a particular construct (Kelly, 1955). Valence indicates the pole by which the individual would prefer to describe themselves.


Organization of the Study

This dissertation is organized into five chapters. Chapter II contains a review of relevant literature. This review includes further discussion of Personal Construct Theory and research as it relates to the exploration of values, in general, and orthodox Christian values, in particular. The implications for an individual of change in core constructs is explained in depth. Chapter III contains a discussion of research methodology, data collection, and data analyses. Chapter IV includes the description of the study results. In Chapter V, the researcher presents a discussion of the results, implications, and recommendations based on the findings.














CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

The movement toward multicultural exploration and understanding has developed in recent times to a be pervasive social and personal theme, both within the field of counseling and outside of it. Changes in counseling and social awareness bear a reciprocal relationship, as do all paradigm shifts: one influencing the other as each makes an effort to construe an ever-increasing exposure to diversity.

In this chapter the influence of values and beliefs on individual experience will be reviewed, with particular emphasis placed on the role of religious beliefs. The recommendations of researchers regarding the unique challenges associated with counseling religious individuals will be described. The chapter also contains a review of research pertaining to religious beliefs and values and a summary of Personal Construct Theory (PCT) and methodology. Parallels will be drawn between values research and Personal Construct Theory, and previous applications of this theory to the study of religious values will be reviewed.


Religion

A review of relevant literature demonstrates a rise in the salience of religious issues and a resurgence in spirituality and religiosity, both in the general population and in the field of counseling as well (Bergin & Jensen, 1990; Hall, Tisdale, & Brokaw, 1994; Sorenson, 1994). A 1986 nationwide survey of 425 mental health professionals revealed that a majority expressed interest in a non-institutional spirituality (Butler, 1990). "Sixty20





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eight percent of the family therapists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists surveyed said they sought a spiritual understanding of the universe and one's place in it" (1990, p. 30). A proportion very similar to that of the broader culture (i.e., 40%) regularly attend church services.

Yet, religious clients, especially those with highly conservative beliefs and values, are foreign and disconcerting to many counselors (Butler, 1990). Butler explains, "spiritual experiences like mine--framed in archaic language, and challenging commonlyheld paradigms of psychological change--make many therapists squirm" (1990, p. 29). Counselors tend toward more of a "blend of humanistic philosophy and spirituality" (1990, p. 30), rather than traditional, denominational religion (Bergin & Jensen, 1990). A literature review by Neumann, Harvill, and Callahan (1995) revealed that mental health professionals' preference for nontheistic values affects their attitudes toward psychotherapy and counseling, selection of variables in research, graduate school admissions, and presentation and publication approval ratings. This fact, coupled with the rise in national participation in traditional religion (Cadwallader, 1991; Lockwood, 1989; Miller, 1992), and more specifically conservative Christian religion (Barr, 1977; Jorstad, 1987; O'Meara, 1990), defines an upcoming challenge for today's counselor.

Values and beliefs play a unique role in the process of counseling with religious individuals. "Psychology here enters into the very heart of faith. The promise is great, as is the peril. Psychology and theology now unabashedly address the same subjects. And both provide explanations--psychological, ethical, and religious--that influence individuals receiving therapy" (Tjeltveit, 1991, p. 101). Psychology and theology can become competing paradigms, as each define notions of "truth" and well-being.





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Bergin characterizes contemporary counseling theory as "integrally interwoven with secularized moral systems" (1980, p. 96). The secular nature of these values has particular relevance to the Christian client. Because of the potential conflict between the two "cultures," there is a need to develop an understanding of the role of theology in the practice of counseling that is meaningful to secular counselors and training programs (Tan, 1994; Worthington, 1994).

The tenets of the Christian faith permeate the life of many Christians and could be the framework best suited to counseling with Christian clients (Worthington, 1994). Knowledge of an individual's religious values can aid a counselor in sorting out therapeutic issues (Powell, Gladson & Meyer, 1991), and those members of a client's community, who share similar religious beliefs, can support the healing process, if not threatened by it. Religious institutions offer an important source of psychological support for many religious groups (Lee, Oh & Mouncastle, 1992), and spiritual leaders have been a source of guidance for physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. An understanding of current research indicates the importance and usefulness of this resource when dealing with religious clientele (Lee et al., 1992; Tan, 1994).


Values

Therapy is indisputably value laden (Bergin, 1980; Lowe, 1976), and consequently "the value of therapy and the values that pervade its processes have become topics of scrutiny" (Bergin, 1980, p. 96). Interpretation of client symptomatology, as well as the proposal of solutions for change, are constrained by psychological theory, personal constructs, and other aspects of culture (Lyddon, 1992; Mahoney, 1991). "Explicit cognitive theories and models of mind are anchored by a host of implicit epistemological





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assumptions about the human knower, knowledge, and the knowing process" (Lyddon, 1992, p. 172). These "models" are expressed in our dependence on a shared psychological language, as our vocabulary expresses particular categories, definitions, prioritization of data, and other value laden assumptions of reality.

A counselor's choice of diverse strategies for change hinges on their own philosophical belief system (Lowe, 1976). "Techniques are thus a means for mediating the value influence intended by the therapist" (Bergin, 1980, p. 97). The danger is not that a counselor is morally and philosophically influential. The danger lies in this process of influence operating outside of the awareness of the counselor or the client. There is a danger in promoting changes not valued by the client; if such influence is not explicit and consensual, it can be unethical or subversive (Bergin, 1980). Multicultural consciousness raising literature echoes the warning regarding the detrimental influence of counselor values that operate outside of awareness (Parker, 1988; Sue, 1981).

Knowing that counselor values are integral to the process of counseling, Bergin (1980) outlines the following six theses, supported by other researchers and theorists, which describe their potential significance to religious clients:

1. Values are an inevitable and pervasive part of psychotherapy. Practical goals are selected in value terms (e. g., what changes are desirable?) which "necessarily requires a philosophy of human nature that guides selection of measurements and the setting of priorities regarding change" (Bergin, 1980, p. 97).

2. Outcome data comparing the effects of diverse techniques demonstrate that nontechnical, value-laden personal factors pervade counseling processes and largely account for change (Bergin, 1980; Beutler, 1981).





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3. There exists two primary classes of counseling values which both preclude and conflict with theistic systems and religious values: clinical pragmatism and humanistic idealism (Bergin, 1980). Clinical pragmatism prioritizes what "works." In a straightforward implementation of the values of the dominant culture, pragmatism defines mental "health" as fitting into the status quo. Humanism embraces a social agenda hostile to traditional systems of religious values, touching on areas such as child rearing, social standards, and, concomitantly, criteria of positive therapeutic change. These classes of counseling values (i.e., pragmatism and humanism) are "not sufficient to cover the spectrum of values pertinent to human beings and the frameworks within which they function. Noticeably absent are theistic values" (Bergin, 1980, p. 98). Sorenson (1994) agrees that theoretical preservation of religious directives is valuable and important to the future of counseling.

4. There is a significant contrast between the values of mental health professionals and those of a large proportion of their clients (Bergin, 1980, 1990; Butler, 1990; Neumann, Thompson & Woolley, 1992).

5. Because of this discrepancy, and the particular history of opposition shared by counseling and traditional religion (Butler, 1990; Cadwallader, 1991; Ellis, 1962, 1980; Power, 1990), counselors should acknowledge and be explicit about their beliefs while respecting the value systems of others (Tan, 1994; Worthington, 1994). Bergin (1980) suggests publicizing a philosophical stance on important issues to allow for informed client choice.





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6. Bergin (1980) asserts that it is a professional obligation to translate a counselor's perceptions and intuitions into something that can be openly tested and evaluated.

Constructivist Study of Values And Meaning

Values and ethics are inseparable from our meaning attribution and the way we make sense out of life (Tjeltveit, 1991). Interpretations are thus the appropriate focus of research and theory regarding values. There are broad similarities between the concept of values and the notion of a personal construct. Although Kelly himself did not use the two interchangeably (1955), other researchers defined values as bipolar evaluations (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) and noted that certain constructs function as ethical values (AdamsWebber, 1979).

Horley (1991) reviewed the literature regarding the relationship between personal constructs, values, and beliefs, and presented a coherent integration of the concepts as reflected in the literature. He defined values as a "system of learned beliefs concerning preferential objects, modes of conduct, and/or existential end states" (1991, p. 4), and emphasized their manifestation in an individual's identity. This link to identity parallels the function and focus of core constructs, which similarly "provide a sense of personal identity or selfhood by serving as information about who people are and what they represent" (1991, p. 5). Core constructs articulate the ideal self expressed in an individual's choice of values.

Ordinary beliefs, also referred to as "non-value" beliefs, occupy a different cognitive order (Horley, 1991). These beliefs are what Rokeach (1980) described as





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expectancies formed to deal with daily existence, and do not play an important role in self-identity. Such beliefs seem to function as peripheral constructs (Horley, 1991).

Horley (1991) places values and ordinary beliefs on a continuum from central to peripheral in their description of personal experience. He recommends the use of personal construct repertory grids, and specifically the Implications of Change grid, to elicit and explore the relationships between values. Value Convergence Research

Lyddon claims that psychotherapy "can be understood best as a social persuasion process in which, over the course of therapy, the attitudes and beliefs of the client begin to parallel those of the therapist" (1992, p. 182). In 1981, Beutler published a review of over 50 studies in an effort to analyze whether the beliefs of the client and the counselor converged during the process of counseling. Determining that this was indeed so, he was interested in whether this convergence correlated with improvement during the course of therapy. The relationship between convergence and success was complex, but what Beutler proposed was that values of "medium centrality" were "more relevant both to convergence and improvement than are attitudes of greater or less centrality" (1981, p. 98).

This tendency toward convergence of values can either facilitate therapeutic change or engender threat and resistance. Although Bergin (1980) and others have suggested it might be helpful for counselors to share a religious background similar to that of their clients, evaluation of extant research did not bear this out (Beutler et al., 1986). Beutler and his colleagues concluded that improvement was more dependent on the counselor's perceived ability to accept client beliefs than on the client's agreement with the





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counselor's beliefs. They noted, however, that their sample could be biased by excluding those who went to their clergy for counseling concerns.

Knowing that values are central to the process of counseling, and that participants in the counseling process rely on personal constructs and values for their generation of goals, finding a way to negotiate potential differences becomes relevant to successful counseling. In the following section, relevant research regarding the values of religious individuals is discussed, as well as the way in which values operate during the process of change (whether inside or outside of the context of counseling). The influence of those who hold different values, and the way this influence either allows for or inhibits change, will also be addressed.


Religious Orientation

One line of extant research on the implications of religious beliefs stems from the work of Allport and Ross (1967). This particular study explored religious orientation in an effort to clarify the relationship between religion and prejudice. Allport (1967) developed the concept of "religious maturity" to differentiate those who operated within an "intrinsic" value orientation from those with an "extrinsic" orientation. One with a more mature intrinsic orientation held religion, and its associated values and beliefs, as the central and supreme value of the believer's life. One with an extrinsic orientation holds religion to be "peripheral and subordinate" to secular values (Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991, p. 228). Extrinsics also view religion as a means to an end; they use their religion, where intrinsics live their religion (Allport & Ross, 1967).

Batson (1971) expanded these concepts by adding a third orientation: that of "questing." He found that Allport's intrinsically religious subjects could be divided into





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two categories, adding further clarity to the role of religious values in life. One group fit the description of the intrinsically religious as defined by Allport's Religious Orientation Scale (ROS) (Allport & Ross, 1967). Batson posited that the other group more closely fit Allport's (1950) six original characteristics of mature religion, including three variables left unaddressed in the ROS. These characteristics were an unwillingness to reduce complexity, a positive view of doubt, and an openness to change (i. e., tentativeness) (Batson & Ventis, 1982).

These persons view religion as an endless process of probing and Questioning generated by the tensions, contradictions, and tragedies in their own lives and in society. Not necessarily aligned with any formal religious institution or creed, they are continually raising ultimate 'whys,' both about the existing social structure and
about the structure of life itself (Batson & Ventis, 1982, p. 32).

In subsequent research and exploration of the topic, there has been some question as to Batson's interpretation of Allport's original intent (Hood, 1985; Hood & Morris, 1985; Park & Goldsmith, 1985; Watson, Morris & Hood, 1987). Complexity does not obviate the use of traditional religious solutions; doubt is part of the process of developing deeper faith, not a final end in itself; and, tentativeness allows for the possibility of closure (Park & Goldsmith, 1985). However, these researchers also view the concept of "quest" as useful for exploration, and have begun to generate related research.

Batson (1982) developed a means to measure the Quest orientation by refining scales he had written previously to form a Religious Life Inventory (RLI) (Batson & Ventis, p. 153), including an Internal scale, parallel to Allport's Intrinsic scale, an External scale, parallel to Allport's Extrinsic scale, and an Interactional scale, to measure the added "quest" variable. These he administered to a sample of seminary students,





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along with a measure of doctrinal orthodoxy, to evaluate the relationship between religious orientation and helping behaviors (Darley & Batson, 1973). Later it was used to compare evangelical college students (Intrinsics) to members of a social service group (Quests) (Batson, 1976). The Quest scale seemed to consistently differentiate among subjects and predict individuals more inclined to respond to the wishes of those they are helping, rather than act on some prescribed pattern of helping.

Batson's work has been criticized for two related elements: the internal consistency of his scale (Goldsmith et al., 1986; Spilka, Kojetin & McIntosh, 1985) and the diverse religious constituency of his samples (Spilka et al., 1985), which seems to strongly affect the already low Alpha coefficients for his Quest scale. Goldsmith, Goldsmith, and Foster (1986) found the Alpha coefficients for the Intrinsic, Extrinsic, Quest scales to be .85, .78, and .45, respectively. Spilka, Kojetin, and McIntosh (1985) report .73, .35, and .29 for the three scales. Neither Batson and Ventis (1982) or other authors who have used the Quest scale have reported reliabilities for the scale. (See Goldsmith, Goldsmith, and Foster, 1986, for further discussion of the issue.)

In an effort to further the exploration of religious orientation, Goldsmith and his colleagues (Goldsmith et al., 1986; Park & Goldsmith, 1985) conducted two multivariate studies of the values held by intrinsic-, extrinsic-, and quest-oriented Christian students. The second of the studies (Goldsmith et al., 1986) selected a highly committed, theologically conservative sample, as determined by choice of college (Hammond & Hunter, 1984) and score on the Doctrinal Orthodoxy scale (Batson & Ventis, 1982), to compare with the more religiously heterogeneous sample used in the earlier studies by Batson and his colleagues. They found that the majority of the highly religious,





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theologically conservative sample scored above the median on both the intrinsic and quest scales, and could be best described as "questing intrinsics."

These highly religious subjects were characterized as having a core of centrally held, largely coherent religious beliefs that were not open to change. But, they also claimed that many of their less central beliefs were open to changes; indeed, these students frequently told researchers that they were active and felt positive about exploring belief and value alternatives and about modifying their positions.
(Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991, p. 228)

This description of individuals, characterized by a balance between primarily static characteristics and more flexible ones, agrees with the theory and research findings of professionals investigating religious values (Beutler, 1979; Goldsmith et al., 1986; Watson et al., 1987; Worthington, 1991) and values in general (Rokeach, 1968), as well as marital and family systems (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, n.d.) and general personality theory (Kelly, 1955; Piaget, 1970; Soffer, 1993). Goldsmith, Goldsmith, and Foster suggest that a "questing intrinsic" orientation, "with beliefs fixed at the core, but flexible and permeable at the periphery" (1986, p. 229), may be closer to Allport's original concept of mature religion, and is generally considered to represent emotionally healthy religiosity.

Worthington (1989) emphasized the concept of "salience" when describing the value systems of highly religious individuals. "If a value has high salience, one tends to interpret and evaluate oneself, the environment, and social relations in terms of the value" (Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991, p. 227). This concept seems to be similar to Beutler's concept of high centrality: in his understanding, salient values would be less relevant to improvement and less likely to converge during the process of therapy.





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To this, Worthington added the concept of a "zone of toleration" (1986, 1989). He proposed that an individual's salient values, which he thought related to the influence of scripture, religious leaders, and religious cohort group for highly religious individuals, is surrounded by a "zone of toleration" for the views of others that differ from their own. When differing views fall outside of this zone, they will be rejected, and the individual with the alternate views treated with contempt. Worthington believes this process plays a role in premature termination and increased resistance when client and counselor values are too discrepant.

Worthington also proposes that an individual's zone of toleration varies according to psychological stressors. "Enduring psychological pain usually restricts a person's zone of toleration and defines the boundaries of the zone sharply" (1988, p. 70). He describes this zone as both highly defended and brittle for those in distress, likely to restrict openness to new values, and in danger of completely giving way to outside influence, radically changing previously cherished values.

Goldsmith and Hansen (1991) integrated the views of Allport, Batson, Worthington, Beutler, and those of himself and his colleagues into a metaphor of castle and a distant, hostile land separated and protected by a swamp. In the metaphor, the swamp represents "medium centrality" values, open to change, and a reservoir of less salient values that fall within an individual's "zone of toleration." Goldsmith and Hansen (1991) propose that a functional, highly religious individual, both intrinsic and questing, would approach this swamp of values with an open, questioning attitude, willing to either incorporate one as highly central and salient, or to resolve that the value is identity discrepant, and banish it to the foreign land. Values can stay in this ambivalent or





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undecided "swamp" indefinitely, or until clarity is desired. Under stress, an individual's "swamp" will widen in a threatening way, provoking a rigid defense of present values, which can ultimately erode; "the island might be swept away and faith and all its related values lost" (1991, p. 230).

This metaphor was proposed as a way to conceptualize a client's value system so that "the intervention strategy of choice might have maximal effect" (Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991, p. 226). They saw success in counseling as dependent on the counselor's "ability to intervene within a client's value system" (1991, p. 226) to facilitate identity and culture congruent goal achievement.

Implications for Religious Culture Research

Goldsmith's metaphor (Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991) was an effort to tie together a number of theories, enabling the clinician to therapeutically intervene within the life of a highly religious client. However, these authors note the need for a "more inclusive model of what [Dr. Worthington] means by 'toleration' and what Beutler means by 'medium centrality"' (1991, p. 229). They also addressed the theoretical discrepancy between Worthington's description of toleration as applied to threatening constructs of others, while Goldsmith's theoretical "swamp" contains the ambivalent values held by the client which must be tolerated, integrated, or rejected.

They address these discrepancies by proposing the following:

as a highly religious, questing intrinsic believer comes under emotional distress from situational or internal sources, there are related changes to expect in (a) the stability of that person's central core of values and doctrines, (b) the perception and toleration of internal value ambiguities, and (c) the perception and tolerance of the values of significant others, i.e., Worthington's zone of toleration. (Goldsmith &
Hansen, 1991, p. 229)





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Although this metaphor juxtaposes the relevant variables, they report a lack of success in measuring clients' value systems, as Worthington (1988) did in his own research. This partially stems from the contradictions between the theories they combined, which were not addressing the same phenomena. The "swamp" of medium centrality values held by the client, defined by Beutler as peripheral, rather than ambiguous or threatening, parallels Worthington's zone of toleration for the differing values of others in a functional sense (i.e., both change under stress). Yet, the applications still remain conceptually distinct.

A model is needed that adequately addresses both the way one approaches their own peripheral values and how they respond to the differing values of others. This model should account for how this process occurs under both normal and stressful conditions to adequately understand the role of values in counseling, in general, and with highly religious Christian clients, in specific.

Personal Construct Theory (PCT) may offer just such a theory, able to account for the discrepancies between Beutler, Worthington, and Goldsmith, and provide an integrated model which deals with far more than the role of constructs in value choice. PCT describes the whole of personality, addressing how an individual learns, changes, relates, and makes sense out of "the stream of events upon which he finds himself so swiftly borne" (Kelly, 1955, p. 3). As such, the potential for expanding current understanding of religious culture is great.

Not only does PCT potentially allow the practitioner to more fully understand the role of values, it also brings with it well researched methods for measuring constructs and value systems (Fransella & Bannister, 1977; Landfield & Cannell, 1988; Landfield &





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Epting, 1987; Neimeyer, n.d.). This was noted by both Goldsmith and Hansen (1991) and Worthington (1988) as the greatest block to their own research in this area. The complexity of PCT and the specifically tailored measurement techniques may serve to articulate client value systems more concretely and expand current indications for effective treatment.

The following section will begin with a general description of the premises of Personal Construct Theory, followed by an outline of Kelly's fundamental postulate and eleven corollaries. The research concerning construct hierarchies, which bears particular significance for this study, will be discussed in more detail, attending to its relevance to counseling with orthodox Christian clients. The next section will discuss the practical application of information gained about highly connected construct systems through the use of first- and second-order change strategies. In the instrumentation section, measures of personal construct hierarchies, religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and demographics will be described, followed by a summary of the relevant literature selected for this review.


Personal Construct Theory

Kelly's Personal Construct Theory (PCT) is based on two founding premises: one is that people can best be understood when viewed within a longitudinal context, rather than merely at a particular moment in time; and, that each individual "contemplates in his own personal way the stream of events upon which he finds himself so swiftly borne" (Kelly, 1955, p. 3). Thus, Kelly seeks a balance between what is relatively consistent across centuries and what is unique to an individual.





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Much like the phenomenologists, Kelly posits in his theory of personality a "creative capacity of the living thing to represent the environment, not merely to respond to it" (Kelly, 1955, p. 8). Thus, an individual's actions are not controlled either mechanistically, by internal drives, or behaviorally, by shaping forces external to the being. Instead, people are, by nature, actively engaged with the process of interpreting and managing their environment in order to maximize their own adaptation of it and to it (Kelly, 1955, 1958).

Kelly (1955) proposes that any particular interpretation resembles a template: this template is tentatively juxtaposed with an event or series of events in an effort to make sense of them. The template is designed, or chosen from previously designed templates, because of its relative match to the data of interest. These templates can be used to explain the event, revised according to new information, or discarded in favor of a new, better suited template (cf. Piaget's (1970) use of the concepts assimilation and accommodation).

In this way Kelly compares people to scientists. Using a method similar to the standard scientific method, an individual creates an hypothesis, or theory, about events based on preliminary interpretations and tests out these assumptions on future, similar events. These theories are a "tentative expression of what man has seen as a regular pattern in the surging events of life" (Kelly, 1955, p. 19). Such hypotheses are accepted, revised, or rejected based on gathering of "experimental data." In this way, theories are formed to aid in a predictive process, enabling one a degree of control over future events.

Kelly assumes that no one interpretation of events is "true," or possibly free from subjective bias (Kelly, 1955). Each interpretation is an approximation of reality derived





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from past experiences. The "fitness" of a particular interpretation arises from its usefulness or ability to aid in the process of anticipation, rather than its "truthfulness" according to some objectivist ideal. "The validation of an interpretation has less to do with gauging how well it matches an objective reality than with assessing its explanatory and predictive utility for that individual" (Neimeyer, 1986, p. 227). Thus, in Kelly's model of "man-as-scientist" (1955, p. 4), an interpretation is tested in terms of predictive efficacy.

Because people can represent, or place interpretations upon, their environment, they can also place alternative interpretations upon it. Kelly (1955) referred to this philosophical stance as constructive alternativism. He assumes that all present interpretations are potentially open to revision or replacement. This accounts for not only the process of natural development and growth, but the process of change, within or outside of a therapeutic context, as well.

Kelly (1955) developed a theory of personality based on the role, or identity, defining nature of these interpretations. He labels these efforts to construe the world as "constructs." These constructs take the form of bipolar distinctions between events, which are understood to be similar or different when compared to other events. Thus, meaning predicates on contrast (Neimeyer, 1986), and options are defined by the poles of the salient construct.

Personal change takes place along the axis of an individual's construct. For example, if one of a person's constructs is "passive active," and that person was going to change in regards to that construct, they would either become more passive or more active. But, if the relevant construct poles are defined by the individual as "passive -





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hostile," change would entail a movement toward one or the other of these extremes. "Even our most stable and positive feelings and behaviors cannot be completely safeguarded from the threat of change toward our anti-values, i.e., non-preferred poles" (Landfield & Epting, 1987, p. 120). Kelly (1955) proposes that movement other than that defined by the constraints of the relevant construct is only possible if the individual is able to reconstrue the situation (i.e., redefine one or both of the construct poles).

Any one individual's collection, or "system," of constructs offers the greatest aid in prediction when the constructs represent a balance between generality and specificity. It is crucial that one be able to learn from the past as well as adapt to unfamiliar events; the construct system suffers if there are either too few or too many (Kelly, 1955). Dysfunction is defined as an inability to accommodate to changing events where an inappropriate or outdated construct is "used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation" (Kelly, 1955, p. 831).

Constructs are situated within an hierarchical structure (Kelly, 1955). That is, certain constructs are subsumed, and constrained, by superordinate constructs. Not only are the choice of constructs personal, but the manner in which they are arranged in relation to one another is personal as well. This hierarchy has even more bearing on personality than the choice of constructs themselves.

Kelly organizes his theory in terms of a fundamental postulate and eleven corollaries (Kelly, 1955). His fundamental postulate states that "a person's processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which he anticipates events" (1955, p. 46). "Channelized," the way Kelly is using it, means constrained by a network of pathways that both facilitate and restrict a person's range of action. Such an approach assumes an





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inherently active stance in which the direction one takes is dependent on the constructs used for anticipation (Neimeyer, 1986). "Through our actions we invest ourselves in our expectations" (1986, p. 229).

Events are understood through one's anticipation of their replication (construction corollary), and experience functions to alter one's anticipations (experience corollary) (Kelly, 1955). A single construct expresses both similarities and differences (dichotomy corollary), and one chooses the alternative in the dichotomy which allows for the greatest usefulness and refinement of their system of constructs (choice corollary). These constructs characteristically evolve within hierarchies (organization corollary) to aid in the anticipation of events.

Some constructs are general, and some specific (range corollary) (Kelly, 1955). The degree to which a certain construct can vary is limited by its permeability (modulation corollary). A person can successively employ construct subsystems which are inferentially incompatible (fragmentation corollary). Constructs are idiosyncratic (individuality corollary), but have significant overlap, due to membership in a particular family or culture (commonality corollary). And, to the degree that one can construe the construction process of another one can play a social role in the broader culture (sociality corollary).

Kelly's theory of Personal Constructs has been used in a broad variety of contexts, generating nearly 2000 publications, much of this work in empirical research (Neimeyer, n.d.). This research spans such diverse contexts as education, career development, artificial intelligence, communication, thanatology, psychopathology, and industrial organizational psychology. It has also been applied across a variety of clinical contexts,






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including marital therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and psychotherapy for the severely disturbed or borderline client.

There have been few applications of Personal Construct Theory and methodology to the study of beliefs and values of religious cultures. Preston and Viney (1986) explored ways of construing God (i.e., people's perceptions of God, the role God plays in their lives, and the affective implications of those interactions). Preston (1987) later looked further into the meaning and cognitive organization of religious aspects of life. This study found that for religious individuals there were approximately twice as many religious implications for secular variables as there were secular implications for religious variables. It did not specifically study the process of change or attitudes toward change, but it did find that religious experience could be explored effectively with personal construct theory and methods.

Construct Hierarchy

The Organization Corollary discusses the importance of an individual's construct hierarchy, which is defined as an "inferred capacity to employ vertical arrangements of constructs" (Landfield & Cannell, 1988, p. 77). The position a particular construct occupies within an individual's hierarchy determines how much influence that construct brings to bear on the process of decision making.

Integration is the product of a functional hierarchy, enabling one to make efficient choices (Landfield & Cannell, 1988). Kelly (1955) emphasizes the importance of balance: "If construing is tight, one runs the risk of being shattered on the uncompromising rocks of reality. If it is loose, one may be spun around endlessly in the whirlpool of fantasy" (Kelly, 1955, p. 849). Excessive conceptual loosening, or





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fragmentation, is associated with difficulties such as schizophrenia (Bannister, 1962) and risk of suicide (Landfield, 1977; Neimeyer, 1986).

Kelly outlined how constructs are linked by "lines of implication" in order to form such hierarchies (Neimeyer, 1986, p. 230). Superordinate structures, especially those which contribute to self-identity (Guidano & Liotto, 1983), are the "most stable and resistant to change, since to modify them would require sweeping changes in subordinate constructs that are implicatively linked to them" (Neimeyer, 1986, p. 230).

In his research toward the development of the Implications of Change grid, Hinkle (1965) demonstrated that superordinate constructs have more implications, hence more meaning, than subordinate constructs. Superordinate constructs are therefore more resistant to change (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). Because constructs do not function independently, but in a hierarchical network of relationships, there are often implications for other constructs when any but the most peripheral are changed. Individuals differ according to how tightly this web of implications ties one construct to the next. Those clients most resistant to change are those whose construct systems are highly connected to identity-defining core role constructs.

In personal construct theory, the notion of resistance, as typically defined by psychological theory, loses importance; unwillingness to change in a given way is seen as an effort to protect genuinely vulnerable points in a construct system. Anxiety is produced by the "recognition that events with which one is confronted lie outside the range of convenience of one's construct system" (Kelly, 1955, p. 495), and threat arises from "the awareness of imminent comprehensive change in one's core structures" (Kelly,





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1955, p. 489). In this way, one is able to benefit from past experience and protect a coherent identity.

In Kelly's appraisal (1958), resistance illuminates the perplexity of the counselor, rather than the rebellion of the client. People behave the way they do because perceived alternatives are less acceptable than current ways of behaving. Client's choices are made in terms of options they see as open to them, not in terms of the options revealed within the counselor's construct system. Therefore, knowledge of an individual's construct hierarchy serves as a guide to treatment planning as well as an heuristic for negotiating "resistance" in therapy (Dempsey & Neimeyer, 1995).

When Fransella and Bannister (1977) correlated superordinate implications to resistance to change, as measured by a Resistance-to-Change grid, the correlation was .70. With their sample size of 20, this result was significant at 0.1 level. This supports the claim that "we are more loath to change in any way that entails many related changes. The prospect of massive linked changes is too daunting" (1977, p. 47). Hence, construct systems which are highly bound by implication to core constructs are more resistant to change, even on constructs that might seem peripheral when considered outside of the context of an individual's implicative connections.


Measuring First- and Second-Order Change

A construct's degree of connectedness to core constructs may become manifest in an individual's choice of change strategies (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993). Lyddon and associates discuss the appropriateness of different types of change based on distinctions made by those at the Mental Research Institute regarding first- and secondorder change (Watzlawick et al., 1974). Drawing on the Theory of Logical Types,





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presented in the work of Whitehead and Russell (1910), these authors describe first-order change as "one that occurs within a given system which itself remains unchanged," and second-order change as "one whose occurrence changes the system itself' (Watzlawick et al., 1974, p. 10). Lyddon further simplifies these distinctions as "change without change" and "change of change," respectively (1990, p. 122).

These distinctions function as a powerful conceptual scheme in scientific and scholarly literature from a variety of disciplines, including areas as diverse as the philosophy of science, topology, communication theory, educational psychology, and organizational development theory (see Lyddon, 1990, for a review of these works). More specifically in psychology, the concepts are reflected in the monumental work of Piaget regarding equilibrium and development (1970, 1981). The process of assimilation, much like first-order change, allows an individual to integrate new stimuli and experiences into existing cognitive structures. When it becomes necessary to change old structures or the create new structures to make sense of experience, an individual does so through accommodation, a second-order change process.

Through assimilation and accommodation, a system (or individual) regulates its level of equilibrium (Lyddon, 1990). Assimilation serves a homeostatic function to dynamically maintain a certain level of functioning, and preserve the basic structure of the system. Accommodation, referred to as dissipative change, is used to facilitate qualitative change of a system and its properties. After such "second-order" change, a system must establish a new equilibrium at a different level.

A practitioner's focus of intervention and problem conceptualization differs according to their choice of first-order or second-order change goals (Lyddon, 1990).





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First-order change predicates on the modification of a client's cognitive content, rather than process. The priority is symptom reduction through change in established patterns of action. First-order change efforts can include strategies such as skill acquisition, modification of cognitive habits, such as interruption of automatic thoughts and irrational beliefs, and other means of reestablishing prior equilibrium.

First-order change is indicated in situations defined as in need of adjustment to recent, problematic life events (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993). It is also appropriate with those who are "comfortable with their core assumptions about reality, self, and world and may require only peripheral adjustments in their system" (Lyddon, 1990, p. 125). In these situations, therapeutic goals are specific and the counselor operates within rationalist assumptions, providing both education and elaboration on optional strategies for coping or symptom reduction (see Lyddon's, 1990, discussion of rationalist and constructivist assumptions guiding counseling, and associated choice of goals and techniques).

Second-order change strategies, on the other hand, are focused on a variety of historical and developmental themes, and the practitioner relies on an attention to process, rather than content (Lyddon, 1990). Facilitation of second-order change requires an exploration of personal meanings and a focus on helping clients to gain insight into how their past history has contributed to such meanings. Hence, the therapeutic contract includes the option of questioning beliefs and constructs that underlie problematic aspects of identity or behavior and might benefit from change.

Second-order change is indicated when an individual exhibits a history or pattern of difficulty in addressing a developmental issue (Lyddon, 1990). An individual's core





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beliefs about themselves and the world may no longer function in a way that allows them to reliably predict and respond to life events. Typical second-order change strategies fall under the loose category of constructivist, and may include the following:

a) a developmentally focused reconstruction of the history and patterning of the problem, b) a gradual elaboration of the client's tacit cognitive models of self and world that are no longer viable, c) a full exploration of the feelings related to this newly accessed experiential information, and d) therapist support for the client's
construction of new meaning structures. (Lyddon, 1990, p. 125)

Lyddon (1990) acknowledges the fact that there are clients who present requesting first-order change, when in fact a counselor determines they may require second-order change. He recommends an approach that honors the contract established, with adherence to the goals requested. If different goals are deemed crucial, the therapeutic contract should be renegotiated explicitly with the client. If they, at the present time, do not choose to pursue second-order change, attention to first-order change issues could create the atmosphere of trust that allows for future exploration of second-order change needs when the client is ready.


Instrumentation

In the following sections the researcher will detail the relevant literature concerning the instruments chosen for this study: the Implications of Change grid (Hinkle, 1965), the Short form of the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989), the Change Index, and a demographic data questionnaire. Implications of Change Grid

Kelly developed a personal construct Repertory grid test (or Rep Grid) to elicit and analyze personal constructs (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). As a measure, the Rep Grid is both idiographic and analyzable by statistical means, serving to increase understanding of





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uniqueness as well as relationship to norms. Others have elaborated on his measures, including ways to explore construct hierarchy, structure of constructs, flexibility of construct application, and the implications of change.

The Implications of Change grid, or Imp Grid, focuses on the organization of an individual's construct hierarchy, rather than any particular construct in and of itself (Hinkle, 1965). The Implications of Change grid is widely discussed as a measurement strategy of merit for use with construct hierarchies (Dempsey & Neimeyer, 1995). It gains its significance from Kelly's Organization Corollary, which emphasizes the ordinal relationships between constructs. Because much of a construct hierarchy is naturally implicit and unverbalized (Kelly, 1955), an Implications of Change grid can illuminate connections between constructs hitherto unknown.

When the implications of change for a particular client are known, such implications may be discussed explicitly. Bannister and Fransella have found that "people are unlikely to 'give up' something that is an integral part of themselves unless they become aware of the personally meaningful implications of the alternative ('desired') behavior" (1980, p. 144). In this way, counseling can utilize information about implications to explore positive and negative predictions associated with either change or absence of change.

Constructs can either be supplied by the researcher or elicited from the participant for use in repertory grids. Either way there will be a personal attachment of meaning to the construct. If the constructs are supplied, the researcher is essentially providing a verbal label to which the participant will attach personal meaning. "All constructs are





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'personal' in the sense that the person is able to place the construct's dimension over events and make something of them" (Fransella & Bannister, 1977, p. 19).

The potential drawback to supplying constructs is that another's constructs are never quite as meaningful to an individual as their own (Kelly, 1955). And, in a group situation, there will be subtle differences in the manner in which each makes use of the supplied constructs. Because of this, constructs were elicited from respondents for use on their Implications of Change grids. The drawback associated with elicitation is the related difficulty of comparing the content of the constructs chosen by individuals because of their inevitable variability. However, when evaluating relative connectedness of structure (Crockett & Meisel, 1974), particular content becomes secondary to habits of application, which function independently of any particular construct.

Tests are considered to be good if they are reliable, yet Kelly pointed out that reliability could indicate that a test is insensitive to change (Landfield & Epting, 1987). He preferred the term "consistency" to describe the dimension of stability, and talked of both shorter-term and longer-term stabilities within the context of particular situations and dimensions. Stability can be evaluated in terms of response to different situations, in relation to constructs at different levels of superordinacy, or across time and development of maturity. These views of reliability primarily address test validity, which Kelly considered to more significant.

Consistency, of a construct or a valued hierarchy, should be interpreted in terms of its usefulness to the individual (Landfield & Epting, 1987). It is not consistency for consistency's sake.





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Rather it is his seeking to anticipate the whole world of events and thus relate himself to them that best explains his psychological processes. If he acts to preserve the system, it is because the system is an essential chart for his personal adventures, not because it is a self-contained island of meaning. (Kelly, 1955, p. 50) The most important dimension of consistency for a constructivist clinician is at the level personal meaning. The consistent saliency, or superordinacy, of a particular construct is more relevant than how that construct is applied at any particular moment (Landfield & Epting, 1987). For example, an individual may construe himself as capable one day, and incapable the next, yet he demonstrates consistency in prioritizing capability as a valued personal dimension. "One searches for behavioral consistency at higher levels of the construct system" (Landfield & Epting, 1987, p. 92).

This perspective of consistency affects interpretation of the reliability of a repertory grid. Test-retest reliability, when defined as functioning at one pole of a dimension, is inappropriate to the broader theory base of personal constructs. The tool, however, should consistently elicit the same salient constructs or place the constructs within the same, relatively stable hierarchy (Landfield & Epting, 1987). Although application of a construct can be influenced by a number of contextual dimensions, the constructs themselves, especially superordinate constructs, can be expected to be relatively consistent and enduring (Kelly, 1955; Landfield & Cannell, 1988; Landfield & Epting, 1987), and hence, the dimension of hierarchy connectedness can be expected to remain consistent as well (Crockett & Meisel, 1974). Religious Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy is defined as persistence in the inherited forms of a codified practice (Yannaras, 1992). An orthodox Christian "remains faithful to the original and authentic formulation of a teaching, to the vigorous preservation of a consecrated practice, as





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opposed to those who alter the original authenticity or depart from it" (1992, p. 85). In this section, the researcher will outline various attempts to measure the degree of an individual's or group's orthodoxy, and describe in depth the tool chosen for the purpose of this study.

"Terms like fundamentalist, evangelical, born-again, and conservative Christian have been used indiscriminately without much consideration given to their different meanings" (Kellstedt & Smidt, 1991, p. 259). This lack of consensus on definition has lead to a variety of measurement strategies, including the following: a) categorization of individual by denominational affiliation, or classification of denomination into broader religious categories; b) description of an individual according to theological beliefs (e. g., belief in the inerrancy of the Bible); and, c) inquiry into self-identification, such as personal claims to be a fundamentalist or conservative Christian (Kellstedt & Smidt, 1991).

Different denominations have been categorized as either liberal or conservative on the basis of similarities of beliefs, as well as demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of their adherents (Kiecolt & Nelson, 1988). An approximate ordering according to orthodoxy is as follows: Episcopal/Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Disciples of Christ or Christian, Baptist, Southern Baptist, and the smaller religious bodies, including Church of the Brethren, Church of God, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mennonites. The Episcopal churches occupy the doctrinally liberal end of the spectrum, gradually increasing in orthodoxy toward the end of the list. The midpoint between liberal and orthodox falls somewhere between Lutheran and Disciples of Christ denominations. A separate study on orthodoxy, religious discordance, and alienation





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categorized denominations as follows: Episcopalian, American Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Disciples of Christ were considered theologically liberal or moderate; Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Missouri Synod Lutheran, and fundamentalist sects were considered theologically orthodox (Petersen, 1988).

Although individuals tend to affiliate based on similarities in values and beliefs, there always exists a degree of variability within denominations. Idiographic measures help a practitioner to avoid inaccurate assumptions of homogeneity and to standardize testing and statistical description. An early measure of orthodoxy was developed by Glock and Stark (1966), in which they asked individuals to articulate their acceptance of certain orthodox beliefs.

Batson and colleagues developed a scale patterned after the Orthodoxy index developed by Glock and Stark, designed to assess adherence to traditional doctrines (Batson & Ventis, 1982). Their Doctrinal Orthodoxy Scale incorporated the use of a 9point Likert-type scale ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." Clouse developed a similar scale to assess preference for conservative or liberal religious beliefs using a 5- point Likert-type scale (Clouse, 1985; Holley, 1991).

The Christian Orthodoxy scale (CO) (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982) was created in response to criticism of other measures of orthodoxy as being psychometrically deficient. The CO scale is unidimensional, reliable, and valid. In prior usage, factor analysis has continually revealed a single factor accounting for the majority of test score variance (ranging from 58% to 74%). Mean inter-item correlation across eight samples fell between .60 and .70, and Cronbach's alpha was .98 (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). A version of the CO was chosen for this study because of its superior psychometric





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properties and the generic nature of its items (other measures of orthodoxy seemed biased toward the doctrine of one or several particular denominations, rather than equally representative of all).

In order to determine construct validity, the developers of the CO scale assessed its relationship to more overt indices of religious orientation (e.g., frequency of church attendance, prayer, and scriptural reading, as well as trust in the Bible and the church) (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). All correlations were moderately high in the expected direction (p < .001). Such correlation with devotional behavior supports scale validity.

The CO has proven useful, with the only drawback being its length. The Short Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) is a smaller version of the CO developed to address this difficulty (Hunsberger, 1989). The SCO has been found to correlate with other valid, reliable measures as strongly as CO (i.e., those who scored highly orthodox reported less doubt about religious teachings, more interest in religion, more emphasis on religion in the family background, more agreement with parental religious teachings, higher frequency of church attendance, and stronger religious socialization influences in their childhood). The SCO also correlated at .98 with CO 24-item scale (Hunsberger, 1989).

The SCO is six item inventory taken from the items on the CO that account for the most variability (Hunsberger, 1989). Cronbach's alpha is .93 .95 and mean inter-item correlation is .68 .78. Using factor analysis, the author found a single large factor accounting for always more than 75% of variance. Change Index

The Change Index was developed by the researcher for the purpose of this study, and consists of a series of questions intended to elicit openness to different types of





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change. The types of change specifically addressed are first-order and second-order change, as defined by Watzlawick, Weakland, and Fisch (1974) and explained in Lyddon's work (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993).

The Index contains 20 questions addressing a variety of change opportunities, from very superficial to very complex. The respondent is required to indicate if the situation presented itself, would they be willing to change in the way described by the question? Half of the questions describe first-order changes and the other half describe second-order changes. The Index is scored by totaling the number of times the individual responds "yes," that they would consider making the indicated change. Each instrument will yield two scores ranging from 0 10: one for first-order change and one for second-order change.

Content validity has been established for the instrument through consultation with experts regarding the representativeness of items and theoretical validity of the constructs tested. Four doctoral level, AAMFT licensed counseling professionals were asked to review the instrument and provide feedback. That feedback was used to refine the instrument. For example, some items were not clearly first-order or second-order change options, according to the reviewers. These items were culled from the sample and will not be included in the Index.

The instrument was then piloted on a group of individuals very much like the sample that were used in the study (i.e., young, single, undergraduate students from one of the universities participating in the study). They were asked to take the instrument and then provide feedback on the instrument with regard to clarity, level of difficulty, and





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relevance of change options. Their input has been used to refine the instructions and administration process.

Demographic Variables

The demographic variables measured for the purpose of the study will include gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, grade level (whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior), age, marital status, and identification as a Christian or non-Christian. Identification as Christian, age, and marital status will be used as selection criteria based on population description. Other demographics will be used for the purpose of sample description.


Summary

Religious value differences demand sophistication and accommodation on the part of a counseling professional. Religion delineates, for some, a very influential aspect of culture, permeating actions and personal goals as well as identity defining values or constructs. These values, equated with George Kelly's concept of a core construct (Horley, 1991), help an individual make decisions, guide relationships, and negotiate the process of change. Thus, information regarding an individual's constructs, as they relate to their own personal approach to change, are central to assessment and goal generation in counseling.

Adequate methods to approach the unique needs of orthodox religious clients are not currently available (Bergin, 1980; Worthington, 1986). Toward this end, researchers have described religious orientation (Allport & Ross, 1967; Batson & Ventis,1982), value convergence (Beutler, 1981), tolerance of differences (Worthington, 1991, 1988), and an





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integration of these concepts within a model which describes the ways highly religious individuals address the process of change.

One missing element in this line of research has been adequate research methodology. In this study, the researcher will begin to explore the applicability of Personal Construct theory and methods to describing the values of religiously orthodox individuals and how these values influence the process of change. This will be done through the measurement of construct hierarchy structure and religious orthodoxy, and the modeling of the relationship of these to the type of change preferred by Christians.

The types of change preferred will be described as first-order or second-order, relying on the definitions of researchers at the Mental Research Institute (Watzlawick et al., 1974). Individuals prefer first- or second-order change based on their commitment to and satisfaction with their self-defining values, and how they define the nature of the problem at hand (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993). An understanding of an individual's preference for type of change, as well as the relationship between religious orthodoxy, construct structure, and preference for change, can facilitate increased cultural understanding and appropriate goal setting strategies for counseling professionals.














CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY

This study was designed to investigate possible associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure, degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. Gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level (whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) were solicited as demographic variables for the purpose of sample description. Construct hierarchy structure was measured using Hinkle's (1965) Implications of Change grid. Degree of orthodoxy was measured by the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989). Type of change preferred was assessed through responses to the Change Index, developed by the author for purposes of this study. Each of these instruments, as well as a short demographic questionnaire, were administered to all participants.

This chapter is divided into several sections. In the first section, the research approach, design, and variables of interest are discussed. In the second section, the population, sample selection, recruitment procedures, and resultant sample are addressed. In the third section, the instruments used in this study are presented. In the fourth section, the procedures, collection of data, and recording of data are described. In the fifth section, the research hypotheses for this study are presented. In the sixth section, the methods of data analyses are discussed.





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Research Design

This study was a correlational study designed to explore relationships among chosen variables. In measuring personal constructs, one seeks to make explicit extant differences, rather than to alter or influence current constructions of reality. Therefore, an experimental design that includes treatment would complicate the process of observation and obscure the idiosyncratic way of processing information that it seeks to measure. Hence, the most appropriate design for the research questions posed in this study is the one-time administration of relevant assessment instruments.

Data were collected on the variables of construct hierarchy structure, degree of orthodoxy, and type of change preferred, as well as a series of demographic variables, from 60 young (18 25), single, undergraduate college students. Gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level (whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) were solicited as demographic variables for the purpose of sample description. A question was included within the demographic questionnaire to indicate "non-Christian" status, if appropriate. (The scores of those who indicate nonChristian beliefs were excluded from the analysis, because consideration of the vast number of non-Christian religious and secular beliefs is beyond the scope of this study.) All variables were treated as integral variables, and statistical regression was used to generate a predictive model, summarizing the relationship between these variables.

In order to speculate about generalization, demographics such as gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level were gathered as a part of the study.





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Independent variables

The independent variables selected for this study are as follows:

Construct Hierarchy Structure this score was ascertained by counting the number of implications expressed in a participant's Implications of Change grid (Appendix A) (Hinkle, 1965), indicating degree of overall connectedness (Crockett & Meisel, 1974). Individuals are loath to change on constructs which are connected by implication to a core, highly valued construct; hence, those with a high degree of connectedness demonstrate more areas of their construct system that are not open, or very resistant, to change (Landfield & Epting, 1987). Construct Hierarchy Structure was treated as an interval variable for the purpose of analysis, allowing for a range of scores from 0-90.

Christian Orthodoxy operationalized in terms of total score on the Short form of the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989) (Appendix B). The instrument allowed participants to respond to questions regarding conservative, or orthodox, beliefs, with a resultant score ranging from 6 42. Score on the SCO was treated as an interval variable for the purpose of data analysis.

Dependent Variable

The dependent variable selected for this study is as follows:

Type of Change Preferred operationalized in terms of a relative score on the Change Index (Appendix C). This questionnaire is comprised of 20 hypothetical options for change, half of which would require first-order changes and half of which would require second-order changes. It thus yields a separate score for each scale ranging from 0 10, indicating willingness to consider each type of change. Relevant to this study is the relationship between the degree of an individual's construct hierarchy structure and





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their openness to second-order changes. Therefore, analysis only considered the scores indicating the participants' preference for second-order change. Descriptor Variables

The following demographic variables were elicited to aid in sample description and indicate useful directions for future research:

Demographics self-report data regarding gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level were collected using a short questionnaire (Appendix D). All of the demographic variables are categorical, rather than interval. A question was included to elicit non-Christian status in order to eliminate from the sample those who do not define themselves as Christians.


Research Hypotheses

In this study the following hypotheses were tested:

Hypothesis I: The degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy structure is significantly associated with the degree of religious orthodoxy.

Hypothesis II: The degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy structure is significantly associated with their preference for second order change.

Hypothesis III: An individual's degree of religious orthodoxy is significantly associated with their preference for second order change.

Hypothesis IV: The degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy structure and their degree of religious orthodoxy is significantly associated with their preference for second-order change.





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Population

The population for this study was unmarried individuals between the ages of 18 and

25 who were enrolled as undergraduate students in a college or university and identified

themselves as Christian. The following academic institutions participated in this study:

Charleston Southern University A private coeducational university with fully

accredited four year liberal arts college. Accepted as an institution by the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 1964. Mission statement: "academic excellence in a Christian environment for students of all faiths;" dedicated to emotional, intellectual, and spiritual

development. Undergraduate enrollment: 2,187 men and women.

The College of Charleston A State funded, coeducational institution offering

traditional liberal arts disciplines. Founded in 1770, the College of Charleston is the oldest institution of higher learning in South Carolina. Undergraduate enrollment: 2,701

men, 4,421 women full time; 490 men, 650 women part time.


Sampling Procedures

A description of this research proposal was submitted for review and approval to

the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects). Approval was granted (Appendix E) with the inclusion of an informed

_ consent form for participants (Appendix F).

Recruitment of Participants

To recruit study participants, professors of undergraduate, human service related

classes (e.g., psychology, sociology, child development, religion, and education) in the selected colleges were contacted by the researcher. The request included an offer on the part of the researcher to lecture for the professor on either the results of the study or





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another relevant topic that the researcher is qualified to deliver. In return, the professor was asked to help arrange a time for instrument administration and offer extra credit to students willing to participate. Four professors agreed to allow the researcher to solicit their students and offered extra credit for their participation equal to no more than 2% of the student's final grade.

Next, the individual members of the classes were solicited directly for participation in the study. This was done in cooperation with the suggestions of the professors of each college and any other administrative entities (e.g., the College of Charleston requested that the researcher submit the study to their human subjects review committee for approval prior to administration).

All individuals willing to participate were informed regarding possible administration times, scheduled beforehand by participating professors. Three professors were willing to allow the researcher to administer the instruments during the scheduled class period, and one preferred administration at a different time. 105 individuals chose to participate, 60 of which fit predetermined sample description and completed the instruments correctly.

Sampling Criteria

The age range of the participants was limited to those between 18 and 25 years old. This was done to limit the error due to age, cohort, and developmental stage. In order to control for differences due to marital status, only single students were used. Participants were all currently enrolled as undergraduate students, limiting the effects of educational level on study results. Individuals with observable behaviors indicating gross pathology






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were also eliminated, focusing the predictive ability of the model for a relatively "normal" population.

This particular study considered the relationship between orthodoxy and construct connectedness for those with Christian beliefs. For this reason, non-Christians, whether atheist, agnostic, or of a different faith, such as Muslim or Hindu, were not included in the sample. The demographic questionnaire contains an item regarding one's selfidentification as a Christian, which was used as a selection criteria for participation in this study.

Resultant Sample

The resultant sample contained a total of 60 participants, all single, Christian undergraduate college students. As can be noted in Table 1, the majority of the participants were seniors or juniors (43.3 and 40.0%, respectively), between the ages of 20 and 21 (51.7%), female (91.7%), white (70.0%), and social science majors (66.7%). A sizable percentage of the participants were 22 or 23 years old (31.7%), but few were older (8.3%) or younger (8.3%). Roughly twenty-eight percent were African American, and only one participant was "other" (i.e., not African American, Caucasian, or Asian). Baptist was the most prevalent denomination (30.0%), followed by Catholic (15.0%), Methodist (15.0%), Presbyterian (10.0%), and Episcopal (8.3%). Forty-five percent of the participants had never participated in counseling of any form, 25.0% had been to what they would consider a Christian or Pastoral counselor, 15.0% to a secular counselor, and 11.7% to both Christian and secular counselors. Most of the study participants attended Charleston Southern University (71.7%), rather than the College of Charleston (28.3%).






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Table 1. Description of the Sample

Resultant Sample (n=60) Total Sample (n=94) Category Number % Number %

Major
Psychology/Sociology 40 66.7% 51 54.3% Education 7 11.7% 8 8.5% Criminal Justice 5 8.3% 13 13.8% Business 3 5.0% 10 10.6% Nursing 2 3.3% 2 2.1% Religion 1 1.7% 2 2.1% Biology 1 1.7% 1 1.1% Liberal Arts 0 0.0% 5 5.3% Undecided 1 1.7% 2 2.1%

Grade
Freshman 1 1.7% 3 3.2% Sophomore 9 15.0% 15 16.0% Junior 24 40.0% 35 37.2% Senior 26 43.3% 40 42.6% Graduate 0 0.0% 1 1.1%

Age
18-19 5 8.3% 5 5.3% 20-21 31 51.7% 36 38.3% 22-23 19 31.7% 26 27.7% 24-25 5 8.3% 5 5.3% >25 0 0.0% 22 23.4% Marital Status
Married 0 0.0% 20 21.3% Divorced 0 0.0% 7 7.4% Single 60 100.0% 65 69.1% Widowed 0 0.0% 1 1.1% Other 0 0.0% 1 1.1% Gender
Female 55 91.7% 81 86.2% Male 5 8.3% 13 13.8% Race
African American 17 28.3% 25 26.6% Caucasian 42 70.0% 67 71.3% Asian 0 0.0% 1 1.1% Other 1 1.7% 1 1.1%





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Table 1.--continued

Resultant Sample (n=60) Total Sample (n=94) Category Number % Number %

Religious Identification
Christian 60 100.0% 90 95.7% Non-Christian 0 0.0% 2 2.1% Other 0 0.0% 2 2.1%
Christian Denomination
Baptist 18 30.0% 29 30.9% Catholic 9 15.0% 13 13.8% Methodist 9 15.0% 12 12.8% Presbyterian 6 10.0% 8 8.5% Episcopal 5 8.3% 8 8.5% AME 2 3.3% 3 3.2% Unitarian 0 0.0% 0 0.0% Assembly of God 1 1.7% 2 2.1% Other 10 16.7% 19 20.2%
Participation in Counseling
No 27 45.0% 39 41.5% Christian/Pastoral 15 25.0% 22 23.4% Secular 9 15.0% 14 14.9% No Counselor 1 1.7% 3 3.2% Other 1 1.7% 4 4.3% Christian and Secular 7 11.7% 12 12.8% University
Charleston Southern Univ. 43 71.7% 72 76.6% College of Charleston 17 28.3% 22 23.4%



Data Collection Procedures

Each participant was introduced to the study and given a packet of instruments,

including the following: 1) the Implications of Change grid, 2) a questionnaire assessing

religious orthodoxy (the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale), 3) a questionnaire which

elicits type of change preferred (Change Index), and 4) a self-report questionnaire

regarding participant demographics. The instructions for the Implications of Change grid

were given verbally (see instructions, included with the instrument in Appendix A). The





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other instruments include written instructions, and all instruments collectively required approximately an hour of the participant's time (30 minutes for the Implications of Change grid, 10 minutes for the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale, 10 minutes for the Change Index, and 10 minutes for the demographic questionnaire). The researcher was present at all administrations to clarify any questions about the instruments and procedures. As such, the testing situations was standardized to remove risk of error due to inconsistency of administration. Those indicating an interest in receiving information about the study results were notified upon completion of data analysis regarding study results and given an opportunity to ask any questions they had about the research procedures or their particular responses.


Instrumentation

Four instruments were used in this study: 1) the Implications of Change grid (Hinkle, 1965), 2) the Short form of the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989), 3) the Change Index, and 4) a demographic data questionnaire. Implications of Change Grid

Hinkle's (1965) Implications of Change grid, or Imp Grid, is one of a number of Personal Construct repertory grids with which a practitioner may elicit and illuminate an individual's construct system. Arising from Personal Construct Theory's (PCT) priority on personal meaning, a repertory, or "rep," grid is designed to allow an individual to articulate significant descriptors across a variety of contexts. Each grid contains a series of "elements," which can be made up of roles, important relationships, situations, concepts, or other categories determined relevant by the researcher, to elicit related





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constructs. The constructs can then be used, statistically or clinically, to further the goals of the inquiry.

Use of the grid to gather information was a technique developed within a clinical, rather than a research context. For George Kelly, the purpose of psychological measurement was to "survey pathways along which the subject is free to move, and the primary purpose of clinical diagnosis is the plotting of the most feasible course of movement" (1955, p. 203). For this reason, grid results are closely tied to clinical intervention.

Constructs for use in the 10 x 10 implications repertory grid were elicited from the participants. The subjects were first asked to record their ten most positive characteristics, and then their ten most negative. They were then asked to provide their own opposites for each of the characteristics. They were allowed five minutes to select the positive characteristics, five minutes to select the negative, and five minutes to list the opposites. From their own individual pools of constructs, they were asked to choose ten that they considered to be the most important, yet different from one another.

Each participant then completed the grid by comparing each of the constructs to every other construct. They were asked to determine if change on the first construct implied change on the second construct, and so forth. Possible responses included the following: that change on the first implies change on the second (+), or that there would be no implications for change (--). Each construct was then compared to each of the others a total of 9 times. Theoretically, change on construct #1 could imply change on construct #2 without change on #2 having implications for change on #1, indicating a





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one-way relationship between the constructs. Therefore, each of the constructs were compared to each of the others in order to establish directionality of implication.

An administration of the grid allows each participant to project for themselves how change on a specific construct would affect their relationship to other constructs. For example, if a participant was to change from confident to unconfident, would that also imply a change from kind to cruel? In this way all of the constructs were compared to all of the other constructs, demonstrating which of them imply change in others. The ones that have more implications are considered to be more meaningful, and hence are superordinate (Landfield & Cannell, 1988).

Many responses of known implications indicate a construct system dominated by one superordinate construct; few known implications can suggest that the person has difficulty integrating their beliefs because few things imply others (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). Both of these situations illustrate the relative stability of constructs or groups of constructs. Data from the Implications of Change grid can allow a clinician to develop a hypothetical picture of how a person thinks, feels, values, and behaves in relation to his or her hierarchies (Landfield & Cannell, 1988).

Tests are considered to be good if they are reliable, yet Kelly pointed out that reliability could indicate that a test is insensitive to change (Landfield & Epting,1987). He preferred the term consistency to describe the dimension of stability, and talked in terms of both shorter-term and longer-term stabilities within the context of particular situations and dimensions. Stability can be evaluated in terms of response to different situations, in relation to constructs at different levels of superordinacy, or across time and





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development of maturity. These views of reliability primarily address test validity, which Kelly considered to be more significant.

The most important dimension of consistency for a constructivist clinician is at the level of personal meaning. The consistent saliency, or superordinacy, of a particular construct is more relevant than how that construct is applied at any particular moment (Landfield & Epting, 1987). For example, an individual may construe himself as capable one day, and incapable the next, yet he demonstrates consistency in prioritizing capability as a valued personal dimension. In evaluating functionality of constructs, "one searches for behavioral consistency at higher levels of the construct system" (Landfield & Epting, 1987, p. 92).

This perspective of consistency affects interpretation of the reliability of a repertory grid. Test-retest reliability, defined as functioning consistently at one pole of a construct dimension, is inappropriate to the broader theory base of personal constructs. The tool, however, should consistently elicit the same salient constructs or place the constructs within the same, relatively stable hierarchy (Landfield & Epting, 1987). Although application of a construct can be influenced by a number of contextual dimensions, the constructs themselves, especially superordinate constructs, can be expected to be relatively consistent and enduring (Kelly, 1955; Landfield & Cannell, 1988; Landfield & Epting, 1987).

With this in mind, when evaluating consistency in patterns of relationship between constructs (i.e., construct hierarchy structure), one straightforward way is to utilize an index of factorial similarity (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). This has been used on a large number of studies with Repertory grids, yielding reliability coefficients between .60 and





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.80, and with Implications of Change grids, scoring slightly above average (i.e., .82) and even higher with the least stable construct removed (i.e., .89).

Hunt (1951) demonstrated that 70 percent of elicited constructs were repeated with a week interval between grid administrations. Fjeld and Landfield (1961) repeated his experiment, and were able to show that over a two week interval, with consistent elements, the reliability of elicited constructs was .80. When asked to provide elements fitting to role titles, Pedersen (1958) found a 77 percent reproduction of elements with a week interval intervening.

These studies were done in large groups, effectively minimizing individual variability. As might be suspected of an instrument sensitive to personal styles of construing, individuals demonstrate widely varying degrees of stability on repeat grids. Differing degrees of stability are clinically associated with types of pathology. Normal and psychiatric populations, in general, can be expected to fall in the range of .60 .80, whereas thought disordered populations score closer to .20 (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). Because these differences reflect relevant variations in thought processing, grid reliability is often a measure of the population, rather than of the test itself.

Because the study focused on construct hierarchy structure, rather than content, the grids were scored to indicate the degree of connectedness between constructs. This was evaluated by counting the total number of implications inferred between all constructs on an individual's grid, whether they be one-way or two-way (Crockett & Meisel, 1974). The resultant score was an integer between zero and ninety, indicating a relative degree of connectedness between constructs.





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Short Form of the Christian Orthodoxy Scale

Orthodoxy has been described as the acceptance of well defined central tenets of the Christian religion (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). The Christian Orthodoxy Scale

(CO) (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982) was developed to measure such variables. To determine construct validity, the developers of the CO scale assessed its relationship to more overt indices of religious orientation (e.g., frequency of church attendance, prayer, and scriptural reading, as well as trust in the Bible and the church). All correlations were moderately high in expected direction (p < .001). Such correlation with devotional behavior supports scale validity.

The CO was created in response to criticism of other measures of orthodoxy as being psychometrically deficient. The CO scale is unidimensional, reliable and valid. In prior usage, factor analysis has continually revealed a single factor accounting for the majority of test score variance (ranging from 58% to 74%). Mean inter-item correlation across eight samples fell between .60 and .70, and Cronbach's alpha was .98 (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). A version of the CO was chosen for this study because of its superior psychometric properties and the generic nature of its items (other measures of orthodoxy seemed biased toward the doctrine of one or several particular denominations, rather than equally representative of all).

CO has proven to be useful, with the only drawback being its length (24 items). Hunsberger (1989) went on to develop a shortened version of the CO by carefully selecting items most representative of the construct of orthodoxy. The Short Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) correlates with other valid, reliable measures as strongly as the CO (i.e., those that scored highly on the instrument reported less doubt about religious





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teachings, more interest in religion, more emphasis on religion in the family background, more agreement with parental religious teachings, higher frequency of church attendance, and stronger religious socialization influences in their childhood). The SCO also correlated at .98 with CO 24-item scale (Hunsberger, 1989), demonstrating a strong relationship between the items chosen for the SCO and the whole of the CO.

SCO is six item paper-and-pencil inventory, taking approximately 10 minutes to administer. The scale is scored by adding "conservative" responses, which entails reversing several items, resulting in a score ranging from 6-42. Cronbach's alpha is .93 .95, and mean inter-item correlation is between .68 .78. Factor analysis revealed a single large factor accounting for always more than 75% of variance (Hunsberger, 1989). Change Index

Although there has not been empirical exploration of the concepts of first- and second-order change, these distinctions have been useful for conceptualizing and planning treatment (Lyddon & Alford, 1993). The Change Index provides a means of quantifying one's openness to each type of change through a series of hypothetical change options. On each option, the respondent is asked to address the following questions: if a particular situation presented itself, would they consider changing in the specified way? And, if they would consider changing, how significant would that change be?

The Change Index yields scores on two scales: openness to first-order change and openness to second-order change. Each scale score can range from zero, meaning the participant would not consider changing in any of the situations presented, to ten, meaning that they would consider changing in all of the situations presented. The score indicates a relative openness to the two types of change, and is useful for comparisons





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between individuals and groups. The question regarding the degree of personal significance associated with each change yields a score form 0-3, indicating the following: the item is scored "0" if the individual is not willing to change on that dimension; "1" if the change would be insignificant; "2" if the change would be moderately significant; and, "3" if the change would be very significant. The questions regarding significance will not be treated as predictor variables or included in the data analysis for the purposes of this study.

Content validity on the Change Index has been established through the use of expert evaluation concerning representativeness of items and discernment of theoretical validity of constructs tested. Four doctoral level, AAMFT licensed professionals were asked to review the instrument and provide feedback. The feedback was incorporated, and the experts were asked to review the instrument a second time to approve corrections.

The instrument was also piloted on a sample similar to the one that was used for the study to gain feedback on clarity, relevance, and ease in administration. Their input was used to refine the instructions and administration process. Demographic Data Questionnaire

Demographic information was gathered using a questionnaire developed by the researcher. Marital status and age was solicited to assess participant match with population definition. Gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level (whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) were solicited for the purpose of sample description (Appendix D).





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Data Analyses

Instrument scores were totaled to provide statistical description of the resultant sample, to include sample means, standard deviations, and correlations between variables. Multiple regression was then used to model the relationship of construct hierarchy structure and degree of orthodoxy to type of change preferred, noting which of the independent variables accounted for the bulk of the variance. The result was the generation of a predictive model which might be useful to counselors when assessing the relationship of orthodoxy and construct hierarchy to the type of change preferred.


Summary

This study was designed to investigate possible associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure, degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students.

The sample was drawn from an undergraduate college population, and was limited to single students between the ages of 18 and 25. Gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level (whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) were solicited for the purpose of sample description.

The instruments used in this study include the Implications of Change grid (Hinkle, 1965), the Short form of the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989), the Change Index, and a demographic data questionnaire. Procedures for collection of data were standardized in order to prevent error due to bias in administration.





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CHAPTER IV
RESULTS

The purpose of this study was to utilize George Kelly's Personal Construct Theory to examine the nature of the construct system of those individuals differing in their degree of religious orthodoxy, and the impact these variables have on the process of change. More specifically, possible associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure, degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of change preferred among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students was examined. The researcher used the statistical analysis of instrument scores to describe the relationships between personal construct connectedness, degree of religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and particular demographic variables (i.e., gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level). This was accomplished through a series of analyses, including descriptive statistics, computation of correlation coefficients, and use of regression in an effort to generate a predictive model regarding the relationship between independent variables, the dependent variable, and participant demographics. A series of post hoc analyses were then performed on the entire group of participants, including those originally eliminated according to sample description, to further explore the relationship between study variables. The results of the data analysis are presented in this chapter.





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Analysis of Hypothesis I

The first hypothesis addressed the relationship between the connectedness of an individual's construct hierarchy structure and their degree of religious orthodoxy. The researcher first described the sample in terms of variable means and standard deviations, as well as range of scores. The variables were then evaluated for correlation, yielding Pearson Correlation Coefficients (see Table 2). This procedure revealed correlation values ranging from 0.00252 (orthodoxy and tendency toward second-order change) to 0.08374 (orthodoxy and construct hierarchy connectedness), indicating almost no linear association between variables. The p-values, listed below the correlation values, are all greater that 0.05, indicating that none of the correlations are significantly different than

0.00. In other words, none of the correlations between variables were significant.

Table 2. Simple Statistics and Correlation Analysis

Simple Statistics
Variable N Mean Std Dev Sum Minimum Maximum OR 60 39.7167 3.7647 2383.0 26.0000 42.0000 C 60 32.0167 11.3593 1921.0 11.0000 68.0000
SOC 60 5.0667 2.0241 304.0 1.0000 10.0000
Pearson Correlation Coefficients / Prob > IRI under Ho: Rho=0 / N = 59
OR C SOC
OR 1.00000 0.08374 0.00252
0.0 0.5247 0.9847
C 0.08374 1.00000 0.01248
0.5247 0.0 0.9246
SOC 0.00252 0.01248 1.00000
0.9847 0.9246 0.0


The means and standard deviations reveal an unexpected high average score on the orthodoxy measure, with a small degree of variability in sample scores. The mean score





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for the degree of religious orthodoxy was 39.7167 and the standard deviation was 3.7647. If the scores of the sample had resulted in a normal distribution, approximately 68% of the sample scores would fall between 35.95 and 43.48. As it was, 88.33% of the scores fell between 35 and 42. From a total of 60 responses, with a possible range of 6 42, five

(5) scores were between 30 and 35, and only two (2) were less than 30 (i.e., a 26 and a 28). No scores fell between 6 and 24, which is the liberal end of the scale, so not even the lower of the sample scores can truly be considered "liberal." Therefore, the scores on the orthodoxy measure are heavily skewed towards the orthodox end of the scale. This overrepresentation of religiously orthodox scores on the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale may have had a large impact on the rest of the analyses and the ability of the procedures to detect differences in a sample this size.

The regression model for Hypothesis I treated degree of religious orthodoxy as the dependent variable and degree of construct hierarchy structure connectedness as the independent variable. First an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was performed, revealing an F-value of 0.410 and a p-value of 0.5247. Again, the p-value would only be significant if less than 0.05. The R-square value is less than 1.0%, indicating that this model accounts for almost none of the variance in the system.

Table 3 contains the results of the ANOVA and the parameter estimates. The intercept was 38.828 and the coefficient for the independent variable (construct hierarchy structure connectedness) was 0.028, yielding the regression equation of OR = 38.828 + 0.028(C), with OR being the degree of religious orthodoxy and C being construct hierarchy structure connectedness. Note that the standard error, especially for the connectedness parameter estimate, is very large when compared to the parameter value.





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The t-value for the connectedness parameter is 0.640, and the p-value 0.5247, neither of which is significant. This indicates that the regression model equation does not predict the values significantly better than using the mean value for the variable being predicted, and thus Hypothesis I must be rejected.

Table 3. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis I

Analysis of Variance
Source DF Sum of Mean F Value Prob > F Squares Square
Model 1 5.86375 5.86375 0.410 0.5247
Error 58 830.31958 14.31585
C Total 59 836.18333
Root MSE 3.78363 R-square 0.0070 Dep Mean 39.71667 Adj R-sq -0.0101
C.V. 9.52655
Parameter Estimates
Variable DF Parameter Standard T for HO: Prob > Estimate Error Parameter=0 ITI INTERCEP 1 38.828107 1.47179736 26.381 0.0001 C 1 0.027753 0.04336419 0.640 0.5247




Analysis of Hypothesis II

The second hypothesis evaluated the relationship between the degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy structure and their preference for second order change. The results were similar to those obtained regarding Hypothesis I in that the regression model did not account for a great deal of the variance within the data, nor did it reveal significant relationships, allowing for prediction of the dependent variable (preference for second order change) from the independent (construct hierarchy structure connectedness). The ANOVA revealed an F-value of 0.009 and a p-





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value of 0.9246 (see Table 4), which is not significant. The R-square was 0.0002, revealing a low ability to account for the variance in the data. The regression equation is SOC = 4.995 + 0.00222(C), with SOC being preference for second order change and C being construct hierarchy structure connectedness. The t-value for the connectedness parameter is 0.095, and the p-value is 0.9246. This indicates that the regression model equation does not predict the values significantly better than using the mean value for the variable being predicted, and thus Hypothesis II must be rejected.

Table 4. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis II

Analysis of Variance
Source DF Sum of Mean F Value Prob > F Squares Square
Model 1 0.03766 0.03766 0.009 0.9246
Error 58 241.69567 4.16717
C Total 59 241.73333
Root MSE 2.04136 R-square 0.0002 Dep Mean 5.06667 Adj R-sq -0.0171
C.V. 40.29008
Parameter Estimates
Variable DF Parameter Standard T for HO: Prob > Estimate Error Parameter=0 ITI INTERCEP 1 4.995453 0.79407187 6.291 0.0001 C 1 0.002224 0.02339607 0.095 0.9246




Analysis of Hypothesis III

The third hypothesis evaluated the relationship between the an individual's degree of religious orthodoxy and their preference for second order change. The results were similar to those obtained regarding Hypothesis I in that the regression model did not account for a great deal of the variance within the data, nor did it reveal significant





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relationships, allowing for prediction of the dependent variable (preference for second order change) from the independent (degree of religious orthodoxy). The ANOVA revealed an F-value of 0.0008 and a p-value of 0.9847 (see Table 5), which is not significant. The R-square was 0.00004, revealing a low ability to account for the variance in the data. The regression equation is SOC = 5.0128 + 0.001355(OR), with SOC being preference for second order change and OR being the degree of religious orthodoxy. The t-value for the orthodoxy parameter is 0.019, and the p-value is 0.9847. This indicates that the regression model equation does not predict the values significantly better than using the mean value for the variable being predicted, and thus Hypothesis IB must be rejected.

Table 5. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis III

Analysis of Variance
Source DF Sum of Mean F Value Prob > F Squares Square
Model 1 0.00154 0.00154 0.0008 0.9847
Error 58 241.73180 4.16779
C Total 59 241.73333
Root MSE 2.04152 R-square 0.00004 Dep Mean 5.06667 Adj R-sq -0.0172
C.V. 40.29309
Parameter Estimates
Variable DF Parameter Standard T for HO: Prob > Estimate Error Parameter=0 ITI INTERCEP 1 5.012836 2.81633942 1.780 0.0803 OR 1 0.001355 0.07059958 0.019 0.9847 Analysis of Hypothesis IV

The fourth hypothesis evaluated the interaction between the degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy structure and their degree of





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religious orthodoxy, and the relationship between this interaction and the individual's preference for second order change. The results were similar to those obtained regarding Hypothesis I in that the regression model did not account for a great deal of the variance within the data, nor did it reveal significant relationships, allowing for prediction of the dependent variable (preference for second order change) from the independent variables (degree of construct hierarchy structure and degree of religious orthodoxy). The ANOVA revealed an F-value of 0.005 and a p-value of 0.9955 (see Table 6), which is not significant. The R-square was 0.0002, revealing a low ability to account for the variance in the data. The regression equation is (SCO) = 4.964 + 0.0022(C) + 0.0008(OR), with SCO being preference for second order change, C being construct hierarchy structure connectedness, and OR being the degree of religious orthodoxy. The t-value for the connectedness parameter is 0.093, and the p-value is 0.9262. The t-value for the orthodoxy parameter is 0.011, and the p-value is 0.9911. This indicates that the regression model equation does not predict the values significantly better than using the mean value for the variable being predicted, and thus Hypothesis IV must be rejected.





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Table 6. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis IV

Analysis of Variance
Source DF Sum of Mean F Value Prob > F Squares Square
Model 2 0.03819 0.01910 0.005 0.9955
Error 57 241.69514 4.24027
C Total 59 241.73333
Root MSE 2.05919 R-square 0.0002 Dep Mean 5.06667 Adj R-sq -0.0349
C.V. 40.64192
Parameter Estimates
Variable DF Parameter Standard T for HO: Prob > Estimate Error Parameter=0 ITI INTERCEP 1 4.964431 2.88802972 1.719 0.0910 C 1 0.002202 0.02368357 0.093 0.9262 OR 1 0.000799 0.07146179 0.011 0.9911



Post Hoc Analysis

In order to further explore the sample responses and explain the lack of significance in earlier results, the researcher conducted several post hoc statistical procedures. The original data set, prior to elimination of participants based on population parameters, consisted of 94 usable responses (i.e., correctly completed test batteries). Rather than being limited as specified in the original hypotheses, this group ranged in age from 18 to 54; had participants that were single, married, or divorced; included non-Christians (n = 2) and agnostics (n = 3), as well Christians; and included one graduate student with the 93 undergraduate students. All post hoc analyses were performed on this entire data set (see Description of the Sample in Table 1).





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The newly defined sample was then evaluated for correlations between demographic variables, total instrument scores, and particular individual items from the Change Index. The second-order change items from the Change Index were also grouped, according to theme and purpose, to explore the ability of these groupings to explain the variance in the scores. The groupings of the second-order change items were as follows: questions 2, 12, and 18 were grouped as items which address issues of identity (ID); questions 5, 8, 10, and 13 were grouped as items which address religious and political values (RPV); and questions 7, 17, and 20 were grouped as items which address interpersonal dynamics (IPD). These subgroupings were evaluated for correlation with all other instrument and demographic variables, as well.

When the descriptive and correlational analyses were repeated with the entire data set, the researcher found a variety of statistically significant relationships. These relationships are described in Table 7. The rows and columns of Table 7 are labeled according to the research variables, as follows:

C = construct hierarchy structure score
OR = degree of orthodoxy
GRA = year in college
AGE = age
SOC = total score on second-order change items of the Change Index
ID = total score on identity related second-order change items of the Change Index
RPV = total score on religious/political value second-order change items of the Change Index
IPD = total score on interpersonal dynamic second-order change items of the Change Index
Q1 Q20 = individual items on the Change Index, with the second-order change items denoted with gray shading.







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Table 7. Significant Correlations between Study Variables (p < 0.10)


c oR GRA AGE SOC ID RPV IPD


OR 0.172 -0.183 0.0976 0 .0771 GRA

AGE 0.172
0.0976
SOC

ID

RPV -0.183 0.0771 IPD

Ql 0.181
0.0803


Q3

Q4
QS -0.195 0.0594 Q6




Q9 -0.187
0.0707


QII 0.242
0.0190

Q1
gi- -o.252
0.0145 Q14


Q6 -0.264 0.0103 Qlf 0.203


Ql9

















o Change Index items related to Identity (1D) P Change Index items related to Religious and Political Values (RPV) IPD Change Index items related to Interpersonal Dynamics (IPD)





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From the review of the analysis it was concluded that, even with the expanded sample, few variables were significantly related to the others when the criteria for significance was p < 0.05. However, there were several interesting relationships noted with p-values greater than 0.05, but less than 0.10. With this more inclusive criteria of significance, age was found to be positively related to degree of religious orthodoxy (R-square = 0.172, p = 0.976). In other words, as age increases, so do participant scores on the orthodoxy index. Clearly, including a broader variety of age groups did not serve to increase the representation of liberal Christians in the resultant sample.

Orthodoxy was also significantly associated with the religious and political value items (RPV) of the Change Index (R-square = -0.183, p = 0.0771). The correlation was negative, indicating that as the degree of orthodoxy increases, tendency toward changes in religious and political values decreases. Those who are more orthodox are less open to changing in these areas. This relationship is predicted by the review of literature and the relevant theory concerning these variables. However, the relationship demands further exploration, due to the unanswered psychometric questions concerning the Change Index.

The correlations between research variables and particular items on the Change Index are included in Table 7, as well. It should be noted that an RPV item was negatively correlated with age (Question #5, R-square = -0.195, p = 0.0594), as well as one of the first-order change items (Question #16, R-square = -0.264, p = 0.0103). Therefore, as age increased, tendency toward change on these items decreased. Orthodoxy also bore a negative relationship to RPV Question #13 (R-square = -0.252, p = 0.0145), but a positive relationship towards first-order change Question #11 (R-square = 0.242, p = 0.0190). Construct connectedness was negatively correlated with





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Question #9 (R-square = -0.187, p = 0.0707), and positively correlated with Question #1 (R-square = 0.181, p = 0.0803) and IPD Question #17 (R-square = 0.203, p = 0.0500). These correlations are not the proper foundation for theoretical conclusions, but may aid in review and revision of the Change Index for future research purposes.

After the descriptive statistics were generated (i.e., means, standard deviations, correlations, etc.) for the new data set, statistical regression was used according to each of the original hypotheses in order to describe any predictable relationships among variables. Again, none of the p-values for the ANOVAs were significant at the p < 0.05 level. However, the relationship between orthodoxy (treated as an independent variable) and the subgrouping of the second-order change items on the Change Index which address religious and political values (RPV) accounts for a portion of the variance in the sample scores. The ANOVA for this relationship revealed an F-value of 3.196 and a p-value of 0.0771 (see Table 8). Acceptance of a p-value < 0.10 as a test of significance is possible, if stated before the data is collected or analyzed. A p-value < 0.10 was not predicted beforehand and this relationship was not addressed in the hypotheses, so it can not be construed as a clear measure of the study's predictions. However, the low p-value is indicative of this model's ability to account for a significant portion of the variance.





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Table 8. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for the Relationship between Orthodoxy and the Religious/Political Values Items of the Change Index

Analysis of Variance
Source DF Sum of Mean F Value Prob > F Squares Square
Model 1 3.98028 3.98028 3.196 0.0771
Error 92 114.57291 1.24536
C Total 93 118.55319
Root MSE 1.11596 R-square 0.0336 Dep Mean 1.19149 Adj R-sq 0.0231
C.V. 93.66059
Parameter Estimates
Variable DF Parameter Standard T for HO: Prob > Estimate Error Parameter=0 ITI INTERCEP 1 2.564775 0.77673497 3.302 0.0014 OR 1 -0.035270 0.01972868 -1.788 0.0771



The parameter estimates for the regression model indicated that the intercept was 2.565 and the coefficient for the independent variable (degree of orthodoxy) was -0.035, yielding a regression equation of (RPV) = 2.565 + -0.035(OR), with RPV being the religious and political value items on the Change Index and OR being the degree of religious orthodoxy. The t-value for the orthodoxy parameter is -1.788, and the p-value is 0.0771. With the test for significance set at p < 0.10, this regression model predicts the dependent variable values significantly better than using the mean value for variable being predicted.


Summary

The analysis of the data collected for this study indicated that none of the relationships addressed in the hypotheses were significant. The descriptive statistics





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revealed an overrepresentation of orthodox scores on the measure of orthodoxy. The majority of the orthodoxy scores fell in the top sixth of the range (i.e., between 36 and 42) with a relatively small standard deviation and, therefore, little variance.

The Pearson Correlation Coefficients for the independent and dependent variables were not significant, indicating that these variables have very little linear relationship with one another. As would be expected in a sample with low correlation values, the Fvalues and p-values of the ANOVAs for each hypothesis were not significant and accounted for very little of the variance in the system. Therefore, the regression models generated according to the hypotheses did not allow for prediction regarding these variables as measured on this population.

A series of post hoc analyses were completed to further explore significant relationships between study variables. The data set for the post hoc analyses included all useable responses, regardless of age, marital status, or religious identification. The analyses revealed a series of statistically significant relationships between demographics, instrument scores, and responses on particular item groupings. One of the regression equations generated by the post hoc analyses indicated a predictable relationship between a subgroup of items from the Change Index (i.e., the religious and political value items) and an individual's degree of orthodoxy. The relevance of regular and post hoc analyses is explored in Chapter V.














CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION

The primary objective of this study was to explore the relationships between the degree of religious orthodoxy; the degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy system; and, the degree of openness to second-order change among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. The goal of the study was the development of a statistical model which would enable a counseling practitioner to predict openness to second-order change from understanding a client's construct system structure and their degree of orthodoxy. The professional literature regarding these variables predicted that individuals are loath to change constructs that are highly connected to their core, identity-defining constructs (Fransella & Bannister, 1977; Hinkle, 1965; Kelly, 1955), and that those with highly connected construct systems have many more seemingly peripheral constructs that are highly connected to the core (Crockett & Meisel, 1974). Those whose religious beliefs are orthodox, by definition, cherish a set of stable, relatively unchanging beliefs (Yannaras, 1992), and would be less willing to change with regards to any constructs connected to those sacred beliefs (Bergin, 1980; Worthington, 1988). Though the planned analyses did not bear out these assumptions in the way they were measured on this particular sample, this study points to interesting theoretical questions regarding the relationship between beliefs and change.

In this final chapter, the researcher discusses the results of each of the four hypotheses and how these results relate to the professional literature regarding religious


86





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orthodoxy, personal constructs, and openness to change. The researcher will present the limitations of this study and offer explanations for the difference between predictions and results. The results of the post hoc analyses will be discussed as well, and the implications of these findings for both theory development and clinical practice will be explored, noting population parameters and limits to generalizability. Finally, the researcher will make recommendations for future study and summarize the discussion of study results.


Discussion of Results

In the first hypothesis the researcher predicted that the nature of an individual's construct system hierarchy would bear a predictable relationship to their religious beliefs. Specifically, it was predicted that different degrees of connectedness between constructs would be significantly related to different degrees of religious orthodoxy. The analysis demonstrated that these variables were not significantly related (i.e., that the correlation between these variables as measured by the Implications of Change grid and the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) was not statistically significant). The regression model derived from the responses on these variables is not one that will allow a practitioner to predict the relationship between personal construct hierarchy structure and orthodoxy, as was hoped.

However, the unexpectedly high scores on the orthodoxy measure complicates any conclusions based on this study alone. The mean sample score on the orthodoxy measure was very high (pt = 39.678, with a possible range of 6 42) and there was little variance in participant responses (SD = 3.785). Nearly all of the responses would be considered





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"orthodox," with 88.5% of the responses above 35, and 100% of the responses above 25. Even though the individuals who scored 26 and 28 appeared to be relatively less orthodox, none of the participants scored 24 or under, which marks the midpoint between the conservative and liberal ends of the scale. A much larger sample (i.e., with N = 300 or more) has a greater chance of discerning relationships between variables when the variability of scores is so limited (K. H. Phlegar, personal communication, February 8, 1997). Yet, when a sample of 60 participants drawn from two separate universities results in a score that is so uniformly conservative, there is reason to question the applicability of the instrument to the construct in question.

This study was conducted in Charleston, South Carolina, which is a religiously conservative area. However, the universities chosen for this study draw students from regions outside of the local area, as do the Air Force and Navy bases located in Charleston. This influx of diversity, and a historical tolerance of differing beliefs, has made Charleston relatively less conservative than the majority of South Carolina. The classes solicited for participation were social science classes: specifically, general psychology, child development, abnormal psychology, and methods of psychology. Research supports the fact that social scientist are more religiously liberal than the rest of the population, rather than more conservative (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Butler, 1990). Therefore, both of the nature of Charleston and of psychology students indicated that the resultant sample would contain individuals espousing liberal religious beliefs.

The key to the overrepresentation of highly orthodox scores may be due to the orthodoxy measure itself. It has been suggested (D. Miller and P. A. D. Sherrard, personal communication, March 31, 1997) that there may be an important theoretical





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distinction between an individual's willingness to accept as true a set of "orthodox" tenets of Christian faith, and their practical application of religious beliefs in a way that can be described as a "vigorous preservation of a consecrated practice" which is "faithful to the original and authentic formulation of a teaching" (Yannaras, 1992, p. 85). In other words, one could accept the basic beliefs of the Christian faith (e.g., that Jesus was the divine son of God, and that he arose from the dead) and still approach the living of their faith in a way that was liberal and non-traditional.

The Short Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) was explicitly chosen because of its psychometric soundness (Hunsberger, 1989) and the fact that the items were representative of the beliefs of a broad variety of denominations, rather than one in particular. The items for the SCO were taken directly from the Nicene creed, a set of Christian beliefs that is subscribed to, at least in some form, by a wide variety of Christian denominations. It is likely that even liberal Christians, such as Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists (Kiecolt & Nelson, 1988; Petersen, 1988), will subscribe to the tenets of the Nicene creed, and hence score highly orthodox on the SCO. Scores on the SCO are highly predictive of other religious behaviors (Hunsberger, 1989), but do not seem to measure or illuminate liberal Christian beliefs as effectively. The only research cited which discusses low (i.e., less orthodox) scores on the SCO or the Christian Orthodoxy scale (CO) was research done with apostates, or those who have turned away from the faith. The apostates can be expected to believe and behave differently than liberal Christians, and the reliability and validity measures on this sample were markedly lower than on the more orthodox samples.





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Religious orthodoxy, as measured by the SCO, did not bear a significant relationship to either construct hierarchy structure connectedness or to openness to second-order change. As noted, this may be due to the nature of the orthodoxy measure itself. However, another possible theoretical explanation for this lies in the work of Batson (1971, 1982), Goldsmith (1986, 1991) and their colleagues. Batson took issue with Allport and Ross's original Religious Orientation scale (1967) because it seemed to neglect the religiously "mature" characteristics of tentativeness and openness to change. Batson and Ventis (1982) saw Allport's "intrinsics" as inflexible and dogmatic, and posited a new religious orientation, called "questing," to describe the experience of religious individuals who are not averse to change. Goldsmith and his colleagues (1986, 1991) proposed that highly religious, mature Christians are both intrinsic and questing, meaning that they hold their religious values as central to their existence and that they are open to questioning them as life demands.

The orthodoxy measure must be reevaluated before further use. However, the highly orthodox scores demonstrated by this sample may offer support for the reality of these theoretical categories. This sample can be statistically described as a pool of highly orthodox individuals who vary on their construct connectedness and their openness to second-order change. Both Allport's (1967) "intrinsic" individuals and Goldsmith's (1986, 1991) "questing intrinsics" are religiously orthodox, yet they differ on their attitude toward change (i.e., Batson's questing dimension). The fact that the entire sample was highly orthodox and yet varied on connectedness and openness to change variables could indicate that the sample contained both "intrinsics" and "questing intrinsics." Although the instruments used in this study did not explain the variance on





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this sample, inclusion of a different instrument, such as Batson's Religious Life Inventory (1982), might begin to more clearly reveal the source of variance.

The researcher also expected to find a predictable relationship between the degree of connectedness within an individual's construct hierarchy structure and their preference for second-order change (Hypothesis II), between an individual's degree of religious orthodoxy and their preference for second-order change (Hypothesis III), and between both an individual's degree of connectedness within their construct hierarchy structure and their degree of religious orthodoxy, and their preference for second-order change (Hypothesis IV). Although the research literature gives support for the existence of a predictable relationship among these variables, this study did not bear that out. None of the relationships were statistically significant, and the regression models did not allow for prediction, as was hoped


Limitations

Understanding the limitations to this particular study design is very relevant to future efforts to explore and predict the relationship between religious beliefs and change. The following items include possible theoretical and methodological explanations for the study results:

1. The overrepresentation of orthodox scores on the measure of orthodoxy limits the ability of this study to explore the variation present in the chosen population. (See discussion above.)

2. The Change Index is a new research instrument, with this being the first administration within a research context. Construct validity was established before administration through the use of a panel of experts, and the tool was piloted to refine the





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method of administration and to discern ease of participation. However, these procedures do not guarantee the absence of psychometric problems.

3. The small number of items on the Change Index which specifically address second-order change opportunities (i.e., ten) limits the instrument's ability to adequately explore this variable. There are twenty items overall, but only half of them are directly related to second-order change, and hence only those were included for data analysis. An instrument with a larger pool of items specifically targeted at the dimension of secondorder change could increase the instrument's sensitivity to the variables of concern.

4. The age and stage of life of the chosen population may have had a large impact on the results of this study. The age and academic level was purposefully defined to limit the effects of educational level, developmental level, and cohort effect on the outcome of the study. However, the developmental stage of the participants chosen may have had a significant impact on the results of the study. Individuals between the age of 18 and 25 are at a very tentative stage of identity and value development (Crain, 1985; Siegler, 1986), especially those in college, where value and identity closure is inhibited through exposure to new values, theories, and beliefs. Individuals in this stage of development are potentially less connected and more open to change, regardless of the nature of their religious beliefs or their degree of orthodoxy.

5. Several instrument packets were not completed correctly and were consequently not included in the study results. Individuals are known to vary in test taking ability and tendency toward compliance, and completing the Implications of Change grid is a long, somewhat complicated process. Instructions were clearly and carefully explained, but the length and level of complexity may have influenced some test takers' responses. A





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participant's incorrect or incomplete understanding of this instrument could greatly affect that participant's overall score.

6. Some participants may have been reluctant to disclose their views about religion or their own particular values. Religious values are commonly considered to be private, and often not discussed except among close friends. There may have been some reluctance, despite confidentiality, to discuss such personal issues. Another complication would be any tendency to "fake good." Individuals could be aware of the socially approved response, and choose that response without regard for their own values. Either of these common biases could influence the following: a participant's choice of constructs or honesty regarding implications, as expressed on the Implications of Change grid; their honesty regarding their openness to change, as expressed on the Change Index; or, their honesty regarding their religious beliefs, as expressed on the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale.

In summary, although the data analysis of participant responses did not support the hypotheses as measured on this sample, there are theoretical and methodological explanations for the disparity between predictions and results. These possible explanations include overrepresentation of orthodox scores on the measure of religious orthodoxy, the potential psychometric shortcomings of the Change Index, the probable influence of the developmental stage of undergraduate college students between the ages of 18 and 25, the abstract nature and complexity of the Implications of Change grid, and the common tendency to withhold beliefs or "fake good" when addressing cherished values with an unfamiliar person (i.e., the researcher). These and other issues may have influenced participant responses and, hence, the results of data analyses.




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PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS AND RELIGIOUS ORTHODOXY
AS PREDICTORS OF SECOND-ORDER CHANGE
By
LAUREL SANDBERG SEMMES
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1997

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Ellen Amatea, the Chairperson of my doctoral
committee, for her patience and constant willingness to provide support and guidance.
One of the greatest challenges in completing this degree and document have been my
geographical distance from the University and its resources and the distractions that
accompany the outset of a career. As I have learned about relative priorities and the
importance of "owning" the process, Dr. Amatea has always been available with
guidance, valuable information, and support of my academic talents and abilities.
The portion of the dissertation process that was conducted in Charleston, South
Carolina, was in constant competition with other valuable aspects of my career
development. I am grateful to my friends for their support and understanding, especially
Dr. Robert Marsden Knight and Dr. Steven Peene. Their understanding of the steps
toward completion and their empathy for the process helped to replace the valuable
cohort group left behind in Gainesville, Florida.
I am very thankful for the statistical guidance provided by Dr. David Miller, who
also served on my doctoral committee, Kathy Phlegar, and Cathy McClellan Hombo.
They helped me look at methodological issues and explore further possibilities for
research concerning religious issues and the instruments used in this study.
I would like to extend my gratitude to Dr. Peter Sherrard and Dr. Joseph Wittmer
for their aid with both the topic of my dissertation and the process. They both have
ii

valuable knowledge and experience from which to speak on religious issues, and were
asked to participate on this committee in part because of their unique backgrounds.
Finally, I will remember with gratitude on a daily basis the logistical, financial, and
emotional support provided by my husband and other members of my family. My
husband, Robert Howard Semmes, II, was able to help me clarify my priorities and focus
on valued long-term goals. My mother, Phyllis Durbin Sandberg, has exhibited constant
faith in my abilities and the eventual completion of this and other accomplishments in my
life. And, finishing this project is, in part, a gift to my father, Captain Dr. Emanuel
Wilson Sandberg, Jr., for his inspiration and example.
iii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS iv
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
I INTRODUCTION 1
Scope of the Problem 3
Theoretical Framework 6
Need for the Study 12
Purpose of the Study 13
General Research Questions 14
Definition of Terms 15
Organization of the Study 19
II REVIEW OF LITERATURE 20
Religion 20
Values 22
Constructivist Study of Values And Meaning 25
Value Convergence Research 26
Religious Orientation 27
Implications for Religious Culture Research 32
Personal Construct Theory 34
Construct Hierarchy 39
Measuring First- and Second-Order Change 41
Instrumentation 44
Implications of Change Grid 44
Religious Orthodoxy 47
Change Index 50
Demographic Variables 52
Summary 52
ID METHODOLOGY 54
Research Design 55
Independent variables 56
Dependent Variable 56
Descriptor Variables 57
Research Hypotheses 57
Population 58
iv

Sampling Procedures 58
Recruitment of Participants 58
Sampling Criteria 59
Resultant Sample 60
Data Collection Procedures 62
Instrumentation 63
Implications of Change Grid 63
Short Form of the Christian Orthodoxy Scale 68
Change Index 69
Demographic Data Questionnaire 70
Data Analysis 71
Summary 71
IV RESULTS 72
Analysis of Hypothesis 1 73
Analysis of Hypothesis II 75
Analysis of Hypothesis III 76
Analysis of Hypothesis IV 77
Post Hoc Analysis 79
Summary 84
V DISCUSSION 86
Discussion of Results 87
Limitations 91
Post Hoc Analyses 94
Implications 95
Recommendations 99
APPENDICES
A IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGE GRID 103
Instructions (read aloud by test administrator) 103
Section 1 104
Section II 104
Section III 105
B SHORT CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY SCALE 110
C CHANGE INDEX 112
D DEMOGRAPHICS QUESTION AIRE 117
E APPROVAL OF HUMAN SUBJECTS COMMITTEE 119
F INFORMED CONSENT 121
REFERENCES 122
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 132
v

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS AND RELIGIOUS ORTHODOXY
AS PREDICTORS OF SECOND-ORDER CHANGE
By
Laurel Sandberg Semmes
May 1997
Chair: Ellen Amatea, Ph.D.
Major Department: Counselor Education
The primary objective of this study was to utilize Personal Construct Theory to
explore the relationships between the degree of religious orthodoxy; the degree of
connectedness within an individual’s construct hierarchy system; and the openness to
second-order change for young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. The
goal was the description of a statistical model which would enable a counseling
practitioner to predict openness to second-order change from understanding a client’s
construct system structure and their degree of orthodoxy. The professional literature
regarding these variables predicted that individuals are loath to change constructs that are
highly connected to their core, identity-defining constructs, and that those with highly
connected construct systems have many more seemingly peripheral constructs that are
highly connected to the core. Those whose religious beliefs are orthodox, by definition,
vi

cherish a set of stable, relatively unchanging beliefs and would be less willing to change
with regards to any constructs connected to those sacred beliefs.
This study compared measures of construct hierarchy structure connectedness
(through the use of the Implications of Change grid), degree of religious orthodoxy
(through the use of the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale), and openness to second-order
change (through the use of the Change Index, designed for the purposes of this study) for
a sample (N=60) of young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. Although
the data analysis of participant responses did not support the hypotheses as measured on
this sample, there are theoretical and methodological explanations for the disparity
between predictions and results. These possible explanations include the homogeneity of
the sample with regards to religious orthodoxy, the potential psychometric shortcomings
of the Change Index, the probable influence of the developmental stage of undergraduate
college students between the ages of 18 and 25, the abstract nature and complexity of the
Implications of Change grid, and the common tendency to withhold beliefs or “fake
good” when addressing cherished values with an unfamiliar person (i.e., the researcher).
These and other issues may have influenced participant responses and, hence, the results
of data analyses.
Vll

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Counseling professionals have devoted much attention to the challenge of cultural
diversity and its implications for counseling ethnically diverse clients. However, a focus
on religious diversity, or more specifically on the influence and characteristics of
Christian religious culture, especially orthodox Christian culture, lags behind (Anderson
& Worthen, 1997; Worthington, 1991; Ingram, 1995). How do the values and beliefs of
the highly religious shape their perceptions of their world, their standards for action, or
their behavior? Counseling theories and methods are needed that apply adequately to
orthodox, highly religious clients, illuminating the impact of such beliefs and values on
the process of personal growth and change. This knowledge is as important to the quality
of service delivery to religious individuals, as it is to counseling with clients of any
unfamiliar culture (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Bergin & Jensen, 1990; Sandage,
Wibberly, & Worthington, 1995; Tan, 1994; Weaver, Koenig, & Larson, 1997).
As psychologists, we would like to know more about the consequences of devout,
intrinsic belief before coming to any conclusion. We need to know more about
what such beliefs do for the individual, both in terms of personal adjustment,
satisfaction and happiness, and in terms of ability to respond positively and openly
to a wider range of people and situations. (Batson & Ventis, 1982, p. 207)
Many social analysts believe that in the future counselors will be increasingly
forced to address religious issues (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Worthington, 1991).
Worthington (1991) supports these claims with the following observations: a) in the past
two decades religious people have become more vocal about their beliefs and practices;
1

2
b) the number of religious cults has increased, creating a need for counselors with an
understanding of such dynamics for those that leave the cult or are peripheral to it; c) the
influx of immigrants into the United States has resulted in communities of diverse
religious beliefs; and, d) the combination of new telecommunications technology and
increased cultural diversity creates a pressure to understand and tolerate alternative
philosophies and religions. Counselors can anticipate having more and more
opportunities to interact with clients whose religious faith is a pervasive organizer of their
lives. Worthington advises that counselors examine and articulate strategies for treating
religious concerns in counseling (1988, 1991) and prepare themselves and future
counselors through research regarding the effectiveness of strategies developed for this
population (1994).
One pathway toward more fully understanding the thoughts and concerns of the
highly religious lies in going beyond issues of content in the study of values (i.e.,
isolating and evaluating particular values or types of values). Current researchers suggest
that certain structures of value systems, regardless of any particular value content, can
reveal more about an individual’s use of those values and the way they can be applied in
clinical practice (Hinkle, 1965; Kelly, 1955; Worthington, 1988). This relationship
between how an individual organizes their values and how this organization, or structure,
influences that individual’s decisions regarding change is key to facilitating change in a
therapeutic context. George Kelly (1955), in his theory of personal constructs, focuses on
the nature of the organization of personal beliefs and values into personal construct
hierarchies, and offers a means to explain how value system structures may influence the
counseling process.

3
Knowledge of such client value structures may increase a counseling professional’s
ability to accurately determine the most appropriate avenues of change for orthodox
Christian clients. In his recent research on the relationship between constructivist (e.g.,
Personal Construct theory) and rationalist counseling theories (e.g., cognitive-behavioral
or rational emotive therapies), Lyddon (1992) discusses a difference in types of change
practiced by each. A counselor’s priority on one or the other type of change dictates the
course of counseling, from goal generation to assessment of effectiveness. The type of
change preferred by an individual, and potentially the most effective, may be closely
associated with construct hierarchy structure (Hinkle, 1965; Lyddon, 1992; Neimeyer,
n.d.), and hence crucial to the process and outcome of counseling.
In this study, the influence of client value structure on the process of personal
change in Christians varying in levels of religious orthodoxy was explored. More
specifically, interrelationships among the individual’s construct system structure, their
degree of orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred was examined.
Scope of the Problem
The influence of Christian religion has been important to many, if not most,
Americans since the formation of this nation as an alliance of colonies. Much of the
immigration to the “new world” was to escape the Protestant persecution of minority
sects (Morison, Commager & Leuchtenburg, 1980). At that time in history, each of the
colonies was largely homogeneous, immigrating from a single region of Europe and
holding to a particular set of beliefs. Technology and continual migration have served to
barrage once isolated communities with an increasing variety of beliefs, religious,
philosophical, and otherwise (Gergen, 1991). However, Christian religion has remained

4
pervasive in its cultural influence (Bergin, 1980; Butler, 1990; Fukuyama, 1990, 1990;
Worthington, 1991; Weaver et al., 1997), and particularly so with those who hold
conservative, or orthodox, Christian religious beliefs.
A subgroup within the broader Christian religion, which itself encompasses a great
deal of diversity, is that of the highly religious, or orthodox, Christian. This subgroup
shares a great deal in common, regardless of the variation, which is demonstrated through
individual member’s choice of doctrine or religious practices. One commonality is at the
level of their approach to their faith: the orthodox, or conservative believers, whether
charismatic, fundamentalist, Catholic, Jewish, or Hindu, are driven by a consecration of
historic ways of practicing or believing. With an orthodox individual, a certain set of
beliefs is canonized, often becoming, in itself, as sacred as the deity it recognizes
(Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982; Morris, 1981). Hence, core beliefs and values are
afforded the status of the sacred.
A review of empirical literature from 1974 to 1984 (Worthington, 1986) revealed
that highly religious Christian clients have two primary fears about counseling: a) that
their cherished values will be changed, and b) that they will be misunderstood or
misdiagnosed based on an outsider’s interpretation of those values. Although evidence
does not support the occurrence or tendency of counselors to misdiagnose (Houts &
Graham, 1986; Lewis & Lewis, 1985; Worthington, 1991; Worthington & Scott, 1983), it
does reflect the influence of counseling to produce change in client values. Counselor
values influence everything from the choice of counseling goals to subtle approval or
disapproval of client values (Beutler, 1979). Although the mutual influence of values

5
experienced during the process of counseling can be conducive to client change, it can
also be threatening and provoke resistance, sometimes ending counseling prematurely.
Based on his understanding of religious values, Worthington (1991) provides a list
of suggestions concerning research and counseling with orthodox, highly religious
Christian clients. First, he suggests that the scholarly study of religious values in
counseling must investigate extant theories and propose new theories about highly
religious clients from a variety of faiths. Second, he contends that counselors must
develop or utilize more theories that explain and support an empirical understanding of
values, both secular and religious. Third, Worthington suggests that counselors realize
that religious clients make distinctions that are emotionally important to them and those
they affdiate with. “Conservative and liberal Christians do not often behave similarly in
religious matters—even those who are equally committed” (1991, p. 219). Thus, we must
adopt a “modified insider perspective” (1991, p. 219) on the needs of the highly religious.
Finally, Worthington recommends that counselors and researchers should make explicit
the procedures that protect clients from unwarranted value intrusion by counselors, and
allow for the inclusion of religious issues in counseling as deemed appropriate by the
client.
The type of educated attention that Worthington (1991) advocates requires
strategies for needs assessment and goal generation in counseling. Clients tend to present
requesting either first- or second-order changes, based on their beliefs about their needs
and what they deem to be helpful. First-order change is what has been referred to as
“change without change,” and focuses on skill acquisition and symptom reduction
(Lyddon, 1990; Neimeyer, n.d.; Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch, 1974). This type of

6
change requires no change in the client’s rules regarding change. Second-order change
predicates on a change in client beliefs, and is often helpful in addressing questions of
identity and values.
This distinction between first- and second-order change can serve to guide the
application of new found knowledge regarding the influence of conservative religious
beliefs. As in work with any “foreign” belief systems, to have maximum influence the
counselor must accommodate to, and therapeutically utilize, a client’s central values and
beliefs. How does one determine which beliefs are central for a highly religious Christian
client? How do these beliefs, and the manner in which they are connected, operate to
influence decision making and an individual’s receptiveness to differing change
strategies? How can counselors accommodate, rather than discourage, client beliefs in a
way that maximizes therapeutic change and growth? And, how can the goals for change
reflect an acknowledgment of construct structure and relative connectedness and the
importance of religious beliefs?
Theoretical Framework
The areas of research which can contribute to an adequate exploration of such
questions are diverse. The theory base for this study includes information on religious
phenomenon as well as on the function of values, whether religious or otherwise. In this
study, the researcher utilized Kelly’s Personal Construct theory to illuminate the role of
values and value structures within the broader context of personality and the process of
personal change. The researcher then explored the use of construct methodology as a
practical approach to religious Christian client assessment, description, and therapeutic
goal generation.

7
In recent history, efforts have been made to develop theories to explain the
convictions of religious individuals and the role that religious belief plays in their daily
actions and personalities. One influential theory, articulating the concept of religious
orientation, was developed by Gordon Allport (1950, 1954) in an effort to explain
prejudice in terms of religious maturity. Later empirical research (Allport & Ross, 1967)
established the usefulness of his concept of religious orientation to differentiate
“intrinsics,” those whose religious values are central and highly influential on their
behavior and other beliefs, and “extrinsics,” those whose religious beliefs are peripheral
and dependent on external variables.
Batson and his colleagues expanded this descriptive typology to include the concept
of “questing” (Batson, 1976; Batson, Naifeh & Pate, 1978; Batson & Ventis, 1982).
Batson understood Allport’s intrinsics to be potentially dogmatic, and created a new
category for religious individuals who were continually open to changes in beliefs.
Batson adapted Allport’s scales for measuring intrinsics and extrinsics, adding questions
intended to address tolerance for doubt and tentativeness in beliefs (Batson & Ventis,
1982).
Goldsmith and his colleagues (Goldsmith, Goldsmith & Foster, 1986; Goldsmith &
Hansen, 1991; Park & Goldsmith, 1985) saw a limitation in Batson’s research stemming
from his choice of subjects. Repeating Batson’s research with a sample limited to highly
religious subjects, Goldsmith and colleagues found the highly religious to be best
described as demonstrating a combination of intrinsic and questing orientations: “having
a core of centrally held, largely coherent religious beliefs that were not open to change,”

8
yet “many of their less central beliefs were open to changes” (Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991,
p. 228).
This stratification of beliefs according to function and openness to change is
reflected as well in Worthington’s research regarding highly religious clients
(Worthington, 1988, 1989). He describes them as having a set of “salient” beliefs, with
which one interprets and evaluates themselves, others, and the environment. An
individual’s salient beliefs, like Goldsmith’s core beliefs (1991), are surrounded by a
“zone of toleration,” reflecting the degree to which discrepant values can be tolerated in
others. This zone, he speculates, becomes restricted and brittle when the individual is
under emotional distress.
Similar stratification is demonstrated in the work of Beutler (Beutler, 1981; Beutler,
Crago & Arizmendi, 1986) concerning the convergence of values in the process of
therapy. He found that the values held by counselors and clients tended to converge
during the process of therapy, and that the convergence of certain values was more
relevant to overall therapeutic improvement. He labeled these relevant values to be of
“medium centrality,” referring to the relative importance of the values in the client’s
value systems.
All of these researchers hypothesize common attributes of religious, and
particularly highly religious, individuals concerning their belief systems: a) that beliefs
are organized in “levels” which differ in their relative importance, b) that certain levels of
beliefs are more flexible and open to influence from exterior sources, and c) that certain
beliefs are stable and resistant to influence, occupying a central role in personality and
approach to life. A corollary of this third attribute is that change to these central beliefs

9
and values could have a potentially disorganizing and destructive effect on the individual
and their personality.
At the heart of any therapeutic intervention is the importance of client trust and
comfort. Because beliefs and values are inseparable from interactions with others, and
central to development of trust, it is imperative that counselors gain some appreciation for
the distinctive values and beliefs of highly religious Christian clients. One framework for
conceptualizing and assessing the nature, and relative primacy, of client beliefs is that of
George Kelly’s (1955) Personal Construct theory of personality. Although it has not been
utilized in this line of research, it can potentially add a great deal. It offers both a
complete theory of personality, one that addresses the influence of values and value
structures on the process of growth, development, and change, and a methodology which
allows one to isolate salient beliefs, or core constructs, differentiating them from more
peripheral beliefs.
Use of Kelly’s theory to address religious questions also answers Ingram’s
challenge to “address some of the issues currently ablaze in the modem/postmodem
arenas of discourses” (1995, p. 3). This challenge calls those who research Christian
issues to use postmodern (e.g., constructivist) epistemology to generate new questions
about long-standing issues. Ingram, who looks toward the development of substantive
theory regarding Christian beliefs and psychotherapy, predicts that the next “wave” of
development will rely on postmodern paradigms.
Personal Construct Theory (PCT) (Kelly, 1955) is a theory soundly grounded in
postmodern epistemology, which proposes that our psychological processes are organized
by a vast series of distinctions about the similarity and dissimilarity of objects, people,

10
and experiences. These distinctions take the form of bipolar constructs, each pole of
which articulates, verbally or nonverbally, our appraisal of ways in which things can
differ or resemble each other. An individual utilizes their constructs to anticipate future
events, based upon their interpretation of past events, increasing their ability to predict
and control elements of their existence.
Each of these constructs have valence, indicating the pole of the construct which an
individual prefers to apply to themselves. As such, these constructs, or interpretive
schemas, function to reflect our values and identity through our choice of which is better,
and our appraisal regarding how we stand in relation to that choice (Fishbein & Ajzen,
1975; Horley, 1991). Thus, values are closely related to constructs, as both function as a
means of appraisal to define aspects of identity (Horley, 1991; Rokeach, 1973, 1980).
Personal constructs are organized by an individual into hierarchies based on their
estimation of the construct’s salience in day-to-day living. Higher level, or core,
constructs are ones upon which we rely to define our identity, or role. These
“superordinate” constructs are tied to “subordinate” constructs by a chain of implications.
One cannot change oneself in relation to a superordinate construct without affecting all of
those subordinate to it, meaning that change in one construct can imply a necessary
change other constructs that are connected. The number of implications that tie one
construct to another indicates the degree of connectedness within the hierarchy system
(Crockett & Meisel, 1974), and offers the practitioner insight into the implications of
change. Kelly verbalized the power of this process as follows:
Now it so happens that a person must occasionally decide what to do about
remodeling his [construct] system. He may find the job long overdue. How much
can he tear down and still have a roof over his head? How disruptive will a new set

11
of ideas be? Dare he jeopardize the system in order to replace some of its
constituent parts? Here is the point at which he must choose between preserving
the integrity of the system and replacing one of its obviously faulty parts.
Sometimes his anticipation of events will be more effective if he chooses to
conserve the system. It is precisely at this point that the psychotherapist may fail to
understand why his client is so resistive. It is also at this point that he may do his
client harm. (Kelly, 1955, p. 58)
Change, if it is to take place at all, happens within the confines of an individual’s
construct system. Any changes affect either an individual’s stance with regards to a
current construct or effectively replace currents with different, potentially more effective,
constructs. However, a counseling professional’s influence of a client’s core constructs,
in an effort to facilitate change, can potentially have a variety of effects which have been
evident historically in work with orthodox Christian clients: fear, resistance, premature
termination, and inability to form an adequate therapeutic bond. Construct hierarchy
structure and connectedness of constructs indicate the strength of relationship between
relevant constructs and cherished aspects of an individual’s identity, hence are crucial to
treatment planning and effective facilitation of change (Dempsey & Neimeyer, 1995).
One way the importance of beliefs and construct hierarchies become manifest is in
the selection of goals for change. The distinction between first-order and second-order
change may prove useful for the practitioner when assessing needs and generating goals.
Lyddon and Alford (1993) have developed an heuristic regarding the relationship between
first- and second-order change and the goal formation process. Individuals for whom
first-order change is indicated “exhibit a secure attachment style, and are comfortable
with their core assumptions about self and world,” whereas second-order change
“involves a restructuring of a client’s personal identity and most basic assumptions about
self and world” (1993, p. 39).

12
Lyddon and Alford (1993) go on to discuss the approach to counseling best suited
to each type of change, as well as the dilemma that arises when the counselor’s goals
differ from the client’s. They advise that the goals selected by the client be honored, with
a renegotiation of therapeutic contract before any change in goals is made. If the client
chooses first-order change goals against the recommendation of the counselor for second-
order goals, the therapeutic bond can be maintained by honoring the original contract,
leaving trust intact for a future date when the client may choose to reevaluate core beliefs.
Need for the Study
The nature and influence of the constructs which are central in the life of highly
religious Christian clients must be explored so that counselors might more fully
understand how such constructs guide client’s lives and relationships. Determining if
there are differences in the nature and structure of the beliefs of religious individuals
differing in their religious orthodoxy could be a first step toward designing counseling
interventions more appropriate to religious individuals.
The second step addressed by the researcher in this study was the practical
application of information regarding the relationship between religious orthodoxy and
construct hierarchy structure. This relationship becomes most relevant in the initial goal
setting process of counseling. Construct hierarchy structure may manifest itself in
selection of treatment goals, such as implicit preference for changes of the first-order
rather than the second-order. Mismatch of treatment goals may explain the threat
experienced by religious clients regarding an imminent change of valued constructs or
misdiagnosis of the presenting problem (Worthington, 1986).

13
The work of George Kelly (1955), and those theorists who have contributed to the
development and application of his Personal Construct theory of personality, offer a way
to measure the role of constructs and construct hierarchies in the selection of treatment
goals for religiously orthodox Christian clients. However, there had been no efforts to
apply Personal Construct Theory to examine the nature of values of religious individuals,
prior to this study, although researchers have suggested that personal construct measures
might help interpret and illuminate the interrelationship of values (Horley, 1991).
Similarly, there had been no previous efforts to correlate scores on Hinkle’s Implications
of Change grid with measures of first and second-order change preference. The benefit of
these efforts reside in their ability to map the religious individual’s value domain and to
increase clinical knowledge regarding the relationships between the structure of that value
system, the degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of change preferred by an
individual.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to utilize Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory to
examine the nature of the construct system of those individuals differing in their degree
of religious orthodoxy, and the impact these variables have on the process of change.
More specifically, possible associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure,
degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred among young,
single, Christian, undergraduate college students were examined. The researcher used the
statistical analysis of instrument scores to describe the relationships between personal
construct connectedness, degree of religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and
particular demographic variables (i.e., gender, race, religious denomination, personal

14
counseling history, major, and grade level). The importance of this study relies on the
usefulness of the following: a) the utilization of construct methodology to measure the
degree of connectedness among the constructs of religious individuals, b) a description of
the relationships between construct connectedness, religious orthodoxy, and type of
change preferred, c) generation of a predictive model, through statistical regression, to
determine the type of change preferred by a particular individual based on their
constructs and degree of orthodoxy, and d) a description of the relationship of the key
research variables to gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history,
major, and grade level.
General Research Questions
This study describes associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure,
degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal change preferred among young,
single, Christian, undergraduate college students. To this end, the following research
questions were posed:
1. Is there a relationship between an individual’s degree of connectedness in
construct hierarchy structure and their degree of orthodoxy?
2. Is there a relationship between an individual’s degree of connectedness in
construct hierarchy structure and the type of change that individual prefers?
3. Is there a relationship between an individual’s degree of religious orthodoxy
and the type of change that individual prefers?
4. Are there relationships between an individual’s degree of connectedness,
religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and selected demographics (gender,
religious denomination, race, personal counseling history, major, and grade level)?

15
Definition of Terms
The following terms will be defined according to their application in this study.
1. Anxiety - Anxiety is produced by the “recognition that events with which one is
confronted lie outside the range of convenience of one’s construct system” (Kelly, 1955,
p. 495).
2. Bipolar Construct - The nature of constructs, as they are proposed by Kelly
(1955), requires that each includes two polarized concepts, which an individual
idiosyncratically construes as opposites. The bipolar nature of constructs allows one to
distinguish and articulate both similarity and difference.
3. Charismatic - Charismatic individuals are those which belong to a religious
movement that emphasizes divinely inspired powers or gifts, such as healing or prophecy
(Morris, 1981).
4. Connectedness - Construct connectedness is the “degree to which pairs of
individual constructs are connected by strong inferential relationships” (Horley, 1991,
p. 291). Connectedness will be operationalized in this study as the total number of
implications indicated by an individual on the Implications of Change grid (Hinkle,
1965).
5. Conservative - Conservative, in this study, is used to describe a quality of
religious beliefs (see definition of Orthodox).
6. Construct - A construct is a representation of the universe erected by a living
creature and then tested, in terms of predictive efficacy, against the reality of that universe
(Kelly, 1955).

16
7. Construct System Hierarchy - Construct system hierarchy refers to the ordinal
relationship between the constructs of an individual’s construct system (Kelly, 1955).
8. Construct System - A construct system is a grouping of constructs in which
incompatibilities and inconsistencies have been minimized, ensuring avoidance of
contradictory predictions (Kelly, 1955).
9. Constructive Altemativism - Constructive Altemativism is a philosophical
stance which relies on the assumption that all present interpretations of the universe are
subject to revision or replacement. Because people can represent, or place interpretations
upon, their environment, they can also place alternative interpretations upon it (Kelly,
1955).
10. Constructivism - Constructivism refers to the epistemological assertion that
humans actively create their personal and social realities, and that “knowledge” is
inherently subjective and fallible (Lyddon, 1992).
11. Core Construct - A core construct is one which governs the individual’s
maintenance of cognitive processes (Fransella & Bannister, 1977), constraining and
enabling cherished aspects of identity.
12. Core Role Constructs - Core role constructs define the idiosyncratic ways in
which an individual understands themself (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).
13. Doctrine - A doctrine is a body of principles presented for acceptance or belief,
as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group (Morris, 1981).
14. Elements - Kelly uses the term “element” to refer to things or events that are
abstracted or understood in terms of a particular construct (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).

17
15. Epistemology - An epistemology is a study of knowledge and knowing
(Mahoney, 1991) which seeks to address fundamental questions about the sources, nature,
and validity of knowledge (Lyddon, 1992).
16. Foci of Convenience - The points within its realm of events where a system or
theory tends to predict most efficiently are referred to as the foci of convenience (Kelly,
1955).
17. Fragmentation - Construct system fragmentation is a process of system
disorganization characterized by constructs that are too flexible or inconsistently applied
to be adequately predictive (Kelly, 1955).
18. Guilt - The experience of guilt arises from an individual’s awareness of
dislodgment of the self from their core role structure (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).
19. Highly Religious - Highly religious individuals are defined by Worthington
(1991) as those who value the authority of Scripture, ecclesiastical leaders, and the norms
of his or her religious group.
20. Integrated - An individual who has a well-integrated construct system is
Capable of making efficient choices. Integration is the product of a functional hierarchy
(Landfield & Cannell, 1988), assigning relative priority and meaning based on
connectedness of constructs. Overly rigid connections between constructs diminish
flexibility, and extremely “loose,” or disconnected, constructs make life and actions
unpredictable.
21. Orthodox - Individuals who are orthodox persist in the inherited forms of a
codified practice. An orthodox Christian “remains faithful to the original and authentic
formulation of a teaching, to the vigorous preservation of a consecrated practice, as

18
opposed to those who alter the original authenticity or depart from it” (Yannaras, 1992,
p. 85).
22. Organization - When speaking of a construct system, organizaton is the
“inferred capacity to employ vertical arrangements of constructs” (Kelly, 1955, p. 77).
23. Peripheral Construct - A peripheral construct is one that can be altered without
serious modification of core constructs (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).
24. Personal Construct Theory - Personal Construct Theory is a theory of
personality proposed by George Kelly (1955) which describes identity and experience as
a manifestation of one’s idiosyncratic interpretations (i.e., “constructs”).
25. Permeability - Permeability refers to the capacity of a construct to embrace new
elements. A completely impermeable construct would be made up of certain specified
elements and not be open to extending its range of convenience (Kelly, 1955).
26. Range of Convenience - Range of convenience, as used by Kelly (1955), refers
to the range of things or events (i.e., elements) to which a construct may be applied with
maximum predictive efficiency.
27. Rationalism - Rationalism is an epistemological stance which regards thought
as superior to sense, and the most effective in determining experience (Mahoney &
Lyddon, 1988).
28. Rigid - A rigid use of personal constructs refers to consistent application of
certain constructs or means of construing without regard for fit or predictive efficacy
(Kelly, 1955).
29. Sacred - An item or person is sacred if it is dedicated to, or set apart for, the
worship of a deity (Morris, 1981).

19
30. Salient - A salient aspect is one that is conspicuous or prominent.
31. Structure - Structure refers to the body of constructs held by an individual,
characteristically arranged within hierarchies (Kelly, 1955).
32. Threat - According to Kelly (1955), threat is provoked by an awareness of an
imminent comprehensive change in one’s core construing structures (Fransella &
Bannister, 1977).
33. Valence - Determination of valence depends on the positive or negative
evaluation made by an individual regarding the poles of a particular construct (Kelly,
1955). Valence indicates the pole by which the individual would prefer to describe
themselves.
Organization of the Study
This dissertation is organized into five chapters. Chapter II contains a review of
relevant literature. This review includes further discussion of Personal Construct Theory
and research as it relates to the exploration of values, in general, and orthodox Christian
values, in particular. The implications for an individual of change in core constructs is
explained in depth. Chapter HI contains a discussion of research methodology, data
collection, and data analyses. Chapter IV includes the description of the study results. In
Chapter V, the researcher presents a discussion of the results, implications, and
recommendations based on the findings.

CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The movement toward multicultural exploration and understanding has developed
in recent times to a be pervasive social and personal theme, both within the field of
counseling and outside of it. Changes in counseling and social awareness bear a
reciprocal relationship, as do all paradigm shifts: one influencing the other as each makes
an effort to construe an ever-increasing exposure to diversity.
In this chapter the influence of values and beliefs on individual experience will be
reviewed, with particular emphasis placed on the role of religious beliefs. The
recommendations of researchers regarding the unique challenges associated with
counseling religious individuals will be described. The chapter also contains a review of
research pertaining to religious beliefs and values and a summary of Personal Construct
Theory (PCT) and methodology. Parallels will be drawn between values research and
Personal Construct Theory, and previous applications of this theory to the study of
religious values will be reviewed.
Religion
A review of relevant literature demonstrates a rise in the salience of religious issues
and a resurgence in spirituality and religiosity, both in the general population and in the
field of counseling as well (Bergin & Jensen, 1990; Hall, Tisdale, & Brokaw, 1994;
Sorenson, 1994). A 1986 nationwide survey of 425 mental health professionals revealed
that a majority expressed interest in a non-institutional spirituality (Butler, 1990). “Sixty-
20

21
eight percent of the family therapists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and
psychiatrists surveyed said they sought a spiritual understanding of the universe and one’s
place in it” (1990, p. 30). A proportion very similar to that of the broader culture (i.e.,
40%) regularly attend church services.
Yet, religious clients, especially those with highly conservative beliefs and values,
are foreign and disconcerting to many counselors (Butler, 1990). Butler explains,
“spiritual experiences like mine—framed in archaic language, and challenging commonly-
held paradigms of psychological change-make many therapists squirm” (1990, p. 29).
Counselors tend toward more of a “blend of humanistic philosophy and spirituality”
(1990, p. 30), rather than traditional, denominational religion (Bergin & Jensen, 1990). A
literature review by Neumann, Harvill, and Callahan (1995) revealed that mental health
professionals’ preference for nontheistic values affects their attitudes toward
psychotherapy and counseling, selection of variables in research, graduate school
admissions, and presentation and publication approval ratings. This fact, coupled with
the rise in national participation in traditional religion (Cadwallader, 1991; Lockwood,
1989; Miller, 1992), and more specifically conservative Christian religion (Barr, 1977;
Jorstad, 1987; O’Meara, 1990), defines an upcoming challenge for today’s counselor.
Values and beliefs play a unique role in the process of counseling with religious
individuals. “Psychology here enters into the very heart of faith. The promise is great, as
is the peril. Psychology and theology now unabashedly address the same subjects. And
both provide explanations-psychological, ethical, and religious-that influence
individuals receiving therapy” (Tjeltveit, 1991, p. 101). Psychology and theology can
become competing paradigms, as each define notions of “truth” and well-being.

22
Bergin characterizes contemporary counseling theory as “integrally interwoven with
secularized moral systems” (1980, p. 96). The secular nature of these values has
particular relevance to the Christian client. Because of the potential conflict between the
two “cultures,” there is a need to develop an understanding of the role of theology in the
practice of counseling that is meaningful to secular counselors and training programs
(Tan, 1994; Worthington, 1994).
The tenets of the Christian faith permeate the life of many Christians and could be
the framework best suited to counseling with Christian clients (Worthington, 1994).
Knowledge of an individual’s religious values can aid a counselor in sorting out
therapeutic issues (Powell, Gladson & Meyer, 1991), and those members of a client’s
community, who share similar religious beliefs, can support the healing process, if not
threatened by it. Religious institutions offer an important source of psychological support
for many religious groups (Lee, Oh & Mouncastle, 1992), and spiritual leaders have been
a source of guidance for physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. An understanding of
current research indicates the importance and usefulness of this resource when dealing
with religious clientele (Lee et al., 1992; Tan, 1994).
Values
Therapy is indisputably value laden (Bergin, 1980; Lowe, 1976), and consequently
“the value of therapy and the values that pervade its processes have become topics of
scrutiny” (Bergin, 1980, p. 96). Interpretation of client symptomatology, as well as the
proposal of solutions for change, are constrained by psychological theory, personal
constructs, and other aspects of culture (Lyddon, 1992; Mahoney, 1991). “Explicit
cognitive theories and models of mind are anchored by a host of implicit epistemological

23
assumptions about the human knower, knowledge, and the knowing process” (Lyddon,
1992, p. 172). These “models” are expressed in our dependence on a shared
psychological language, as our vocabulary expresses particular categories, definitions,
prioritization of data, and other value laden assumptions of reality.
A counselor’s choice of diverse strategies for change hinges on their own
philosophical belief system (Lowe, 1976). “Techniques are thus a means for mediating
the value influence intended by the therapist” (Bergin, 1980, p. 97). The danger is not
that a counselor is morally and philosophically influential. The danger lies in this process
of influence operating outside of the awareness of the counselor or the client. There is a
danger in promoting changes not valued by the client; if such influence is not explicit and
consensual, it can be unethical or subversive (Bergin, 1980). Multicultural consciousness
raising literature echoes the warning regarding the detrimental influence of counselor
values that operate outside of awareness (Parker, 1988; Sue, 1981).
Knowing that counselor values are integral to the process of counseling, Bergin
(1980) outlines the following six theses, supported by other researchers and theorists,
which describe their potential significance to religious clients:
1. Values are an inevitable and pervasive part of psychotherapy. Practical goals
are selected in value terms (e. g., what changes are desirable?) which “necessarily
requires a philosophy of human nature that guides selection of measurements and the
setting of priorities regarding change” (Bergin, 1980, p. 97).
2. Outcome data comparing the effects of diverse techniques demonstrate that
nontechnical, value-laden personal factors pervade counseling processes and largely
account for change (Bergin, 1980; Beutler, 1981).

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3. There exists two primary classes of counseling values which both preclude and
conflict with theistic systems and religious values: clinical pragmatism and humanistic
idealism (Bergin, 1980). Clinical pragmatism prioritizes what “works.” In a
straightforward implementation of the values of the dominant culture, pragmatism defines
mental “health” as fitting into the status quo. Humanism embraces a social agenda
hostile to traditional systems of religious values, touching on areas such as child rearing,
social standards, and, concomitantly, criteria of positive therapeutic change. These
classes of counseling values (i.e., pragmatism and humanism) are “not sufficient to cover
the spectrum of values pertinent to human beings and the frameworks within which they
function. Noticeably absent are theistic values” (Bergin, 1980, p. 98). Sorenson (1994)
agrees that theoretical preservation of religious directives is valuable and important to the
future of counseling.
4. There is a significant contrast between the values of mental health professionals
and those of a large proportion of their clients (Bergin, 1980, 1990; Butler, 1990;
Neumann, Thompson & Woolley, 1992).
5. Because of this discrepancy, and the particular history of opposition shared by
counseling and traditional religion (Butler, 1990; Cadwallader, 1991; Ellis, 1962, 1980;
Power, 1990), counselors should acknowledge and be explicit about their beliefs while
respecting the value systems of others (Tan, 1994; Worthington, 1994). Bergin (1980)
suggests publicizing a philosophical stance on important issues to allow for informed
client choice.

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6. Bergin (1980) asserts that it is a professional obligation to translate a
counselor’s perceptions and intuitions into something that can be openly tested and
evaluated.
Constructivist Study of Values And Meaning
Values and ethics are inseparable from our meaning attribution and the way we
make sense out of life (Tjeltveit, 1991). Interpretations are thus the appropriate focus of
research and theory regarding values. There are broad similarities between the concept of
values and the notion of a personal construct. Although Kelly himself did not use the two
interchangeably (1955), other researchers defined values as bipolar evaluations (Fishbein
& Ajzen, 1975) and noted that certain constructs function as ethical values (Adams-
Webber, 1979).
Horley (1991) reviewed the literature regarding the relationship between personal
constructs, values, and beliefs, and presented a coherent integration of the concepts as
reflected in the literature. He defined values as a “system of learned beliefs concerning
preferential objects, modes of conduct, and/or existential end states” (1991, p. 4), and
emphasized their manifestation in an individual’s identity. This link to identity parallels
the function and focus of core constructs, which similarly “provide a sense of personal
identity or selfhood by serving as information about who people are and what they
represent” (1991, p. 5). Core constructs articulate the ideal self expressed in an
individual’s choice of values.
Ordinary beliefs, also referred to as “non-value” beliefs, occupy a different
cognitive order (Horley, 1991). These beliefs are what Rokeach (1980) described as

26
expectancies formed to deal with daily existence, and do not play an important role in
self-identity. Such beliefs seem to function as peripheral constructs (Horley, 1991).
Horley (1991) places values and ordinary beliefs on a continuum from central to
peripheral in their description of personal experience. He recommends the use of
personal construct repertory grids, and specifically the Implications of Change grid, to
elicit and explore the relationships between values.
Value Convergence Research
Lyddon claims that psychotherapy “can be understood best as a social persuasion
process in which, over the course of therapy, the attitudes and beliefs of the client begin
to parallel those of the therapist” (1992, p. 182). In 1981, Beutler published a review of
over 50 studies in an effort to analyze whether the beliefs of the client and the counselor
converged during the process of counseling. Determining that this was indeed so, he was
interested in whether this convergence correlated with improvement during the course of
therapy. The relationship between convergence and success was complex, but what
Beutler proposed was that values of “medium centrality” were “more relevant both to
convergence and improvement than are attitudes of greater or less centrality” (1981,
p. 98).
This tendency toward convergence of values can either facilitate therapeutic change
or engender threat and resistance. Although Bergin (1980) and others have suggested it
might be helpful for counselors to share a religious background similar to that of their
clients, evaluation of extant research did not bear this out (Beutler et al., 1986). Beutler
and his colleagues concluded that improvement was more dependent on the counselor’s
perceived ability to accept client beliefs than on the client’s agreement with the

27
counselor’s beliefs. They noted, however, that their sample could be biased by excluding
those who went to their clergy for counseling concerns.
Knowing that values are central to the process of counseling, and that participants
in the counseling process rely on personal constructs and values for their generation of
goals, finding a way to negotiate potential differences becomes relevant to successful
counseling. In the following section, relevant research regarding the values of religious
individuals is discussed, as well as the way in which values operate during the process of
change (whether inside or outside of the context of counseling). The influence of those
who hold different values, and the way this influence either allows for or inhibits change,
will also be addressed.
Religious Orientation
One line of extant research on the implications of religious beliefs stems from the
work of Allport and Ross (1967). This particular study explored religious orientation in
an effort to clarify the relationship between religion and prejudice. Allport (1967)
developed the concept of “religious maturity” to differentiate those who operated within
an “intrinsic” value orientation from those with an “extrinsic” orientation. One with a
more mature intrinsic orientation held religion, and its associated values and beliefs, as
the central and supreme value of the believer’s life. One with an extrinsic orientation
holds religion to be “peripheral and subordinate” to secular values (Goldsmith & Hansen,
1991, p. 228). Extrinsics also view religion as a means to an end; they use their religion,
where intrinsics live their religion (Allport & Ross, 1967).
Batson (1971) expanded these concepts by adding a third orientation: that of
“questing.” He found that Allport’s intrinsically religious subjects could be divided into

28
two categories, adding further clarity to the role of religious values in life. One group fit
the description of the intrinsically religious as defined by Allport’s Religious Orientation
Scale (ROS) (Allport & Ross, 1967). Batson posited that the other group more closely fit
Allport’s (1950) six original characteristics of mature religion, including three variables
left unaddressed in the ROS. These characteristics were an unwillingness to reduce
complexity, a positive view of doubt, and an openness to change (i. e., tentativeness)
(Batson & Vends, 1982).
These persons view religion as an endless process of probing and Questioning
generated by the tensions, contradictions, and tragedies in their own lives and in
society. Not necessarily aligned with any formal religious institution or creed, they
are continually raising ultimate ‘whys,’ both about the existing social structure and
about the structure of life itself (Batson & Vends, 1982, p. 32).
In subsequent research and exploration of the topic, there has been some question
as to Batson’s interpretation of Allport’s original intent (Hood, 1985; Hood & Morris,
1985; Park & Goldsmith, 1985; Watson, Morris & Hood, 1987). Complexity does not
obviate the use of traditional religious solutions; doubt is part of the process of
developing deeper faith, not a final end in itself; and, tentativeness allows for the
possibility of closure (Park & Goldsmith, 1985). However, these researchers also view
the concept of “quest” as useful for exploration, and have begun to generate related
research.
Batson (1982) developed a means to measure the Quest orientation by refining
scales he had written previously to form a Religious Life Inventory (RLI) (Batson &
Vends, p. 153), including an Internal scale, parallel to Allport’s Intrinsic scale, an
External scale, parallel to Allport’s Extrinsic scale, and an Interactional scale, to measure
the added “quest” variable. These he administered to a sample of seminary students,

29
along with a measure of doctrinal orthodoxy, to evaluate the relationship between
religious orientation and helping behaviors (Darley & Batson, 1973). Later it was used to
compare evangelical college students (Intrinsics) to members of a social service group
(Quests) (Batson, 1976). The Quest scale seemed to consistently differentiate among
subjects and predict individuals more inclined to respond to the wishes of those they are
helping, rather than act on some prescribed pattern of helping.
Batson’s work has been criticized for two related elements: the internal consistency
of his scale (Goldsmith et al., 1986; Spilka, Kojetin & McIntosh, 1985) and the diverse
religious constituency of his samples (Spilka et al., 1985), which seems to strongly affect
the already low Alpha coefficients for his Quest scale. Goldsmith, Goldsmith, and Foster
(1986) found the Alpha coefficients for the Intrinsic, Extrinsic, Quest scales to be .85,
.78, and .45, respectively. Spilka, Kojetin, and McIntosh (1985) report .73, .35, and .29
for the three scales. Neither Batson and Ventis (1982) or other authors who have used the
Quest scale have reported reliabilities for the scale. (See Goldsmith, Goldsmith, and
Foster, 1986, for further discussion of the issue.)
In an effort to further the exploration of religious orientation, Goldsmith and his
colleagues (Goldsmith et al., 1986; Park & Goldsmith, 1985) conducted two multivariate
studies of the values held by intrinsic-, extrinsic-, and quest-oriented Christian students.
The second of the studies (Goldsmith et al., 1986) selected a highly committed,
theologically conservative sample, as determined by choice of college (Hammond &
Hunter, 1984) and score on the Doctrinal Orthodoxy scale (Batson & Ventis, 1982), to
compare with the more religiously heterogeneous sample used in the earlier studies by
Batson and his colleagues. They found that the majority of the highly religious,

30
theologically conservative sample scored above the median on both the intrinsic and
quest scales, and could be best described as “questing intrinsics.”
These highly religious subjects were characterized as having a core of centrally
held, largely coherent religious beliefs that were not open to change. But, they also
claimed that many of their less central beliefs were open to changes; indeed, these
students frequently told researchers that they were active and felt positive about
exploring belief and value alternatives and about modifying their positions.
(Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991, p. 228)
This description of individuals, characterized by a balance between primarily static
characteristics and more flexible ones, agrees with the theory and research findings of
professionals investigating religious values (Beutler, 1979; Goldsmith et al., 1986;
Watson et al., 1987; Worthington, 1991) and values in general (Rokeach, 1968), as well
as marital and family systems (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, n.d.) and general personality
theory (Kelly, 1955; Piaget, 1970; Soffer, 1993). Goldsmith, Goldsmith, and Foster
suggest that a “questing intrinsic” orientation, “with beliefs fixed at the core, but flexible
and permeable at the periphery” (1986, p.229), may be closer to Allport’s original
concept of mature religion, and is generally considered to represent emotionally healthy
religiosity.
Worthington (1989) emphasized the concept of “salience” when describing the
value systems of highly religious individuals. “If a value has high salience, one tends to
interpret and evaluate oneself, the environment, and social relations in terms of the value”
(Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991, p. 227). This concept seems to be similar to Beutler’s
concept of high centrality: in his understanding, salient values would be less relevant to
improvement and less likely to converge during the process of therapy.

31
To this, Worthington added the concept of a “zone of toleration” (1986, 1989). He
proposed that an individual’s salient values, which he thought related to the influence of
scripture, religious leaders, and religious cohort group for highly religious individuals, is
surrounded by a “zone of toleration” for the views of others that differ from their own.
When differing views fall outside of this zone, they will be rejected, and the individual
with the alternate views treated with contempt. Worthington believes this process plays a
role in premature termination and increased resistance when client and counselor values
are too discrepant.
Worthington also proposes that an individual’s zone of toleration varies according
to psychological stressors. “Enduring psychological pain usually restricts a person’s zone
of toleration and defines the boundaries of the zone sharply” (1988, p. 70). He describes
this zone as both highly defended and brittle for those in distress, likely to restrict
openness to new values, and in danger of completely giving way to outside influence,
radically changing previously cherished values.
Goldsmith and Hansen (1991) integrated the views of Allport, Batson,
Worthington, Beutler, and those of himself and his colleagues into a metaphor of castle
and a distant, hostile land separated and protected by a swamp. In the metaphor, the
swamp represents “medium centrality” values, open to change, and a reservoir of less
salient values that fall within an individual’s “zone of toleration.” Goldsmith and Hansen
(1991) propose that a functional, highly religious individual, both intrinsic and questing,
would approach this swamp of values with an open, questioning attitude, willing to either
incorporate one as highly central and salient, or to resolve that the value is identity
discrepant, and banish it to the foreign land. Values can stay in this ambivalent or

32
undecided “swamp” indefinitely, or until clarity is desired. Under stress, an individual’s
“swamp” will widen in a threatening way, provoking a rigid defense of present values,
which can ultimately erode; “the island might be swept away and faith and all its related
values lost” (1991, p. 230).
This metaphor was proposed as a way to conceptualize a client’s value system so
that “the intervention strategy of choice might have maximal effect” (Goldsmith &
Hansen, 1991, p. 226). They saw success in counseling as dependent on the counselor’s
“ability to intervene within a client’s value system” (1991, p. 226) to facilitate identity
and culture congruent goal achievement.
Implications for Religious Culture Research
Goldsmith’s metaphor (Goldsmith & Hansen, 1991) was an effort to tie together a
number of theories, enabling the clinician to therapeutically intervene within the life of a
highly religious client. However, these authors note the need for a “more inclusive model
of what [Dr. Worthington] means by ‘toleration’ and what Beutler means by ‘medium
centrality’11 (1991, p.229). They also addressed the theoretical discrepancy between
Worthington’s description of toleration as applied to threatening constructs of others,
while Goldsmith’s theoretical “swamp” contains the ambivalent values held by the client
which must be tolerated, integrated, or rejected.
They address these discrepancies by proposing the following:
as a highly religious, questing intrinsic believer comes under emotional distress
from situational or internal sources, there are related changes to expect in (a) the
stability of that person’s central core of values and doctrines, (b) the perception and
toleration of internal value ambiguities, and (c) the perception and tolerance of the
values of significant others, i.e., Worthington’s zone of toleration. (Goldsmith &
Hansen, 1991, p. 229)

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Although this metaphor juxtaposes the relevant variables, they report a lack of
success in measuring clients’ value systems, as Worthington (1988) did in his own
research. This partially stems from the contradictions between the theories they
combined, which were not addressing the same phenomena. The “swamp” of medium
centrality values held by the client, defined by Beutler as peripheral, rather than
ambiguous or threatening, parallels Worthington’s zone of toleration for the differing
values of others in a functional sense (i.e., both change under stress). Yet, the
applications still remain conceptually distinct.
A model is needed that adequately addresses both the way one approaches their
own peripheral values and how they respond to the differing values of others. This model
should account for how this process occurs under both normal and stressful conditions to
adequately understand the role of values in counseling, in general, and with highly
religious Christian clients, in specific.
Personal Construct Theory (PCT) may offer just such a theory, able to account for
the discrepancies between Beutler, Worthington, and Goldsmith, and provide an
integrated model which deals with far more than the role of constructs in value choice.
PCT describes the whole of personality, addressing how an individual learns, changes,
relates, and makes sense out of “the stream of events upon which he finds himself so
swiftly borne” (Kelly, 1955, p. 3). As such, the potential for expanding current
understanding of religious culture is great.
Not only does PCT potentially allow the practitioner to more fully understand the
role of values, it also brings with it well researched methods for measuring constructs and
value systems (Fransella & Bannister, 1977; Landfield & Cannell, 1988; Landfield &

34
Epting, 1987; Neimeyer, n.d.). This was noted by both Goldsmith and Hansen (1991) and
Worthington (1988) as the greatest block to their own research in this area. The
complexity of PCT and the specifically tailored measurement techniques may serve to
articulate client value systems more concretely and expand current indications for
effective treatment.
The following section will begin with a general description of the premises of
Personal Construct Theory, followed by an outline of Kelly’s fundamental postulate and
eleven corollaries. The research concerning construct hierarchies, which bears particular
significance for this study, will be discussed in more detail, attending to its relevance to
counseling with orthodox Christian clients. The next section will discuss the practical
application of information gained about highly connected construct systems through the
use of first- and second-order change strategies. In the instrumentation section, measures
of personal construct hierarchies, religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and
demographics will be described, followed by a summary of the relevant literature selected
for this review.
Personal Construct Theory
Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory (PCT) is based on two founding premises: one
is that people can best be understood when viewed within a longitudinal context, rather
than merely at a particular moment in time; and, that each individual “contemplates in his
own personal way the stream of events upon which he finds himself so swiftly borne”
(Kelly, 1955, p. 3). Thus, Kelly seeks a balance between what is relatively consistent
across centuries and what is unique to an individual.

35
Much like the phenomenologists, Kelly posits in his theory of personality a
“creative capacity of the living thing to represent the environment, not merely to respond
to it” (Kelly, 1955, p. 8). Thus, an individual’s actions are not controlled either
mechanistically, by internal drives, or behaviorally, by shaping forces external to the
being. Instead, people are, by nature, actively engaged with the process of interpreting
and managing their environment in order to maximize their own adaptation of it and to it
(Kelly, 1955, 1958).
Kelly (1955) proposes that any particular interpretation resembles a template: this
template is tentatively juxtaposed with an event or series of events in an effort to make
sense of them. The template is designed, or chosen from previously designed templates,
because of its relative match to the data of interest. These templates can be used to
explain the event, revised according to new information, or discarded in favor of a new,
better suited template (cf. Piaget’s (1970) use of the concepts assimilation and
accommodation).
In this way Kelly compares people to scientists. Using a method similar to the
standard scientific method, an individual creates an hypothesis, or theory, about events
based on preliminary interpretations and tests out these assumptions on future, similar
events. These theories are a “tentative expression of what man has seen as a regular
pattern in the surging events of life” (Kelly, 1955, p. 19). Such hypotheses are accepted,
revised, or rejected based on gathering of “experimental data.” In this way, theories are
formed to aid in a predictive process, enabling one a degree of control over future events.
Kelly assumes that no one interpretation of events is “true,” or possibly free from
subjective bias (Kelly, 1955). Each interpretation is an approximation of reality derived

36
from past experiences. The “fitness” of a particular interpretation arises from its
usefulness or ability to aid in the process of anticipation, rather than its “truthfulness”
according to some objectivist ideal. “The validation of an interpretation has less to do
with gauging how well it matches an objective reality than with assessing its explanatory
and predictive utility for that individual” (Neimeyer, 1986, p. 227). Thus, in Kelly’s
model of “man-as-scientist” (1955, p. 4), an interpretation is tested in terms of predictive
efficacy.
Because people can represent, or place interpretations upon, their environment, they
can also place alternative interpretations upon it. Kelly (1955) referred to this
philosophical stance as constructive altemativism. He assumes that all present
interpretations are potentially open to revision or replacement. This accounts for not only
the process of natural development and growth, but the process of change, within or
outside of a therapeutic context, as well.
Kelly (1955) developed a theory of personality based on the role, or identity,
defining nature of these interpretations. He labels these efforts to construe the world as
“constructs.” These constructs take the form of bipolar distinctions between events,
which are understood to be similar or different when compared to other events. Thus,
meaning predicates on contrast (Neimeyer, 1986), and options are defined by the poles of
the salient construct.
Personal change takes place along the axis of an individual’s construct. For
example, if one of a person’s constructs is “passive - active,” and that person was going
to change in regards to that construct, they would either become more passive or more
active. But, if the relevant construct poles are defined by the individual as “passive -

37
hostile,” change would entail a movement toward one or the other of these extremes.
“Even our most stable and positive feelings and behaviors cannot be completely
safeguarded from the threat of change toward our anti-values, i.e., non-preferred poles”
(Landfield & Epting, 1987, p. 120). Kelly (1955) proposes that movement other than that
defined by the constraints of the relevant construct is only possible if the individual is
able to reconstrue the situation (i.e., redefine one or both of the construct poles).
Any one individual’s collection, or “system,” of constructs offers the greatest aid in
prediction when the constructs represent a balance between generality and specificity. It
is crucial that one be able to learn from the past as well as adapt to unfamiliar events; the
construct system suffers if there are either too few or too many (Kelly, 1955).
Dysfunction is defined as an inability to accommodate to changing events where an
inappropriate or outdated construct is “used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation”
(Kelly, 1955, p. 831).
Constructs are situated within an hierarchical structure (Kelly, 1955). That is,
certain constructs are subsumed, and constrained, by superordinate constructs. Not only
are the choice of constructs personal, but the manner in which they are arranged in
relation to one another is personal as well. This hierarchy has even more bearing on
personality than the choice of constructs themselves.
Kelly organizes his theory in terms of a fundamental postulate and eleven
corollaries (Kelly, 1955). His fundamental postulate states that “a person’s processes are
psychologically channelized by the ways in which he anticipates events” (1955, p. 46).
“Channelized,” the way Kelly is using it, means constrained by a network of pathways
that both facilitate and restrict a person’s range of action. Such an approach assumes an

38
inherently active stance in which the direction one takes is dependent on the constructs
used for anticipation (Neimeyer, 1986). “Through our actions we invest ourselves in our
expectations” (1986, p. 229).
Events are understood through one’s anticipation of their replication (construction
corollary), and experience functions to alter one’s anticipations (experience corollary)
(Kelly, 1955). A single construct expresses both similarities and differences (dichotomy
corollary), and one chooses the alternative in the dichotomy which allows for the greatest
usefulness and refinement of their system of constructs (choice corollary). These
constructs characteristically evolve within hierarchies (organization corollary) to aid in
the anticipation of events.
Some constructs are general, and some specific (range corollary) (Kelly, 1955).
The degree to which a certain construct can vary is limited by its permeability
(modulation corollary). A person can successively employ construct subsystems which
are inferentially incompatible (fragmentation corollary). Constructs are idiosyncratic
(individuality corollary), but have significant overlap, due to membership in a particular
family or culture (commonality corollary). And, to the degree that one can construe the
construction process of another one can play a social role in the broader culture (sociality
corollary).
Kelly’s theory of Personal Constructs has been used in a broad variety of contexts,
generating nearly 2000 publications, much of this work in empirical research (Neimeyer,
n.d.). This research spans such diverse contexts as education, career development,
artificial intelligence, communication, thanatology, psychopathology, and industrial
organizational psychology. It has also been applied across a variety of clinical contexts,

39
including marital therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and psychotherapy for the
severely disturbed or borderline client.
There have been few applications of Personal Construct Theory and methodology
to the study of beliefs and values of religious cultures. Preston and Viney (1986)
explored ways of construing God (i.e., people’s perceptions of God, the role God plays in
their lives, and the affective implications of those interactions). Preston (1987) later
looked further into the meaning and cognitive organization of religious aspects of life.
This study found that for religious individuals there were approximately twice as many
religious implications for secular variables as there were secular implications for religious
variables. It did not specifically study the process of change or attitudes toward change,
but it did find that religious experience could be explored effectively with personal
construct theory and methods.
Construct Hierarchy
The Organization Corollary discusses the importance of an individual’s construct
hierarchy, which is defined as an “inferred capacity to employ vertical arrangements of
constructs” (Landfield & Cannell, 1988, p. 77). The position a particular construct
occupies within an individual’s hierarchy determines how much influence that construct
brings to bear on the process of decision making.
Integration is the product of a functional hierarchy, enabling one to make efficient
choices (Landfield & Cannell, 1988). Kelly (1955) emphasizes the importance of
balance: “If construing is tight, one runs the risk of being shattered on the
uncompromising rocks of reality. If it is loose, one may be spun around endlessly in the
whirlpool of fantasy” (Kelly, 1955, p. 849). Excessive conceptual loosening, or

40
fragmentation, is associated with difficulties such as schizophrenia (Bannister, 1962) and
risk of suicide (Landfield, 1977; Neimeyer, 1986).
Kelly outlined how constructs are linked by “lines of implication” in order to form
such hierarchies (Neimeyer, 1986, p. 230). Superordinate structures, especially those
which contribute to self-identity (Guidano & Liotto, 1983), are the “most stable and
resistant to change, since to modify them would require sweeping changes in subordinate
constructs that are implicatively linked to them” (Neimeyer, 1986, p. 230).
In his research toward the development of the Implications of Change grid, Hinkle
(1965) demonstrated that superordinate constructs have more implications, hence more
meaning, than subordinate constructs. Superordinate constructs are therefore more
resistant to change (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). Because constructs do not function
independently, but in a hierarchical network of relationships, there are often implications
for other constructs when any but the most peripheral are changed. Individuals differ
according to how tightly this web of implications ties one construct to the next. Those
clients most resistant to change are those whose construct systems are highly connected to
identity-defining core role constructs.
In personal construct theory, the notion of resistance, as typically defined by
psychological theory, loses importance; unwillingness to change in a given way is seen as
an effort to protect genuinely vulnerable points in a construct system. Anxiety is
produced by the “recognition that events with which one is confronted lie outside the
range of convenience of one’s construct system” (Kelly, 1955, p. 495), and threat arises
from “the awareness of imminent comprehensive change in one’s core structures” (Kelly,

41
1955, p. 489). In this way, one is able to benefit from past experience and protect a
coherent identity.
In Kelly’s appraisal (1958), resistance illuminates the perplexity of the counselor,
rather than the rebellion of the client. People behave the way they do because perceived
alternatives are less acceptable than current ways of behaving. Client’s choices are made
in terms of options they see as open to them, not in terms of the options revealed within
the counselor’s construct system. Therefore, knowledge of an individual’s construct
hierarchy serves as a guide to treatment planning as well as an heuristic for negotiating
“resistance” in therapy (Dempsey & Neimeyer, 1995).
When Fransella and Bannister (1977) correlated superordinate implications to
resistance to change, as measured by a Resistance-to-Change grid, the correlation was
.70. With their sample size of 20, this result was significant at 0.1 level. This supports
the claim that “we are more loath to change in any way that entails many related changes.
The prospect of massive linked changes is too daunting” (1977, p. 47). Hence, construct
systems which are highly bound by implication to core constructs are more resistant to
change, even on constructs that might seem peripheral when considered outside of the
context of an individual’s implicative connections.
Measuring First- and Second-Order Change
A construct’s degree of connectedness to core constructs may become manifest in
an individual’s choice of change strategies (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993).
Lyddon and associates discuss the appropriateness of different types of change based on
distinctions made by those at the Mental Research Institute regarding first- and second-
order change (Watzlawick et al., 1974). Drawing on the Theory of Logical Types,

42
presented in the work of Whitehead and Russell (1910), these authors describe first-order
change as “one that occurs within a given system which itself remains unchanged,” and
second-order change as “one whose occurrence changes the system itself’
(Watzlawick et al., 1974, p. 10). Lyddon further simplifies these distinctions as “change
without change” and “change of change,” respectively (1990, p. 122).
These distinctions function as a powerful conceptual scheme in scientific and
scholarly literature from a variety of disciplines, including areas as diverse as the
philosophy of science, topology, communication theory, educational psychology, and
organizational development theory (see Lyddon, 1990, for a review of these works).
More specifically in psychology, the concepts are reflected in the monumental work of
Piaget regarding equilibrium and development (1970, 1981). The process of assimilation,
much like first-order change, allows an individual to integrate new stimuli and
experiences into existing cognitive structures. When it becomes necessary to change old
structures or the create new structures to make sense of experience, an individual does so
through accommodation, a second-order change process.
Through assimilation and accommodation, a system (or individual) regulates its
level of equilibrium (Lyddon, 1990). Assimilation serves a homeostatic function to
dynamically maintain a certain level of functioning, and preserve the basic structure of
the system. Accommodation, referred to as dissipative change, is used to facilitate
qualitative change of a system and its properties. After such “second-order” change, a
system must establish a new equilibrium at a different level.
A practitioner’s focus of intervention and problem conceptualization differs
according to their choice of first-order or second-order change goals (Lyddon, 1990).

43
First-order change predicates on the modification of a client’s cognitive content, rather
than process. The priority is symptom reduction through change in established patterns
of action. First-order change efforts can include strategies such as skill acquisition,
modification of cognitive habits, such as interruption of automatic thoughts and irrational
beliefs, and other means of reestablishing prior equilibrium.
First-order change is indicated in situations defined as in need of adjustment to
recent, problematic life events (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993). It is also
appropriate with those who are “comfortable with their core assumptions about reality,
self, and world and may require only peripheral adjustments in their system” (Lyddon,
1990, p. 125). In these situations, therapeutic goals are specific and the counselor
operates within rationalist assumptions, providing both education and elaboration on
optional strategies for coping or symptom reduction (see Lyddon’s, 1990, discussion of
rationalist and constructivist assumptions guiding counseling, and associated choice of
goals and techniques).
Second-order change strategies, on the other hand, are focused on a variety of
historical and developmental themes, and the practitioner relies on an attention to
process, rather than content (Lyddon, 1990). Facilitation of second-order change requires
an exploration of personal meanings and a focus on helping clients to gain insight into
how their past history has contributed to such meanings. Hence, the therapeutic contract
includes the option of questioning beliefs and constructs that underlie problematic aspects
of identity or behavior and might benefit from change.
Second-order change is indicated when an individual exhibits a history or pattern of
difficulty in addressing a developmental issue (Lyddon, 1990). An individual’s core

44
beliefs about themselves and the world may no longer function in a way that allows them
to reliably predict and respond to life events. Typical second-order change strategies fall
under the loose category of constructivist, and may include the following:
a) a developmentally focused reconstruction of the history and patterning of the
problem, b) a gradual elaboration of the client’s tacit cognitive models of self and
world that are no longer viable, c) a full exploration of the feelings related to this
newly accessed experiential information, and d) therapist support for the client’s
construction of new meaning structures. (Lyddon, 1990, p. 125)
Lyddon (1990) acknowledges the fact that there are clients who present requesting
first-order change, when in fact a counselor determines they may require second-order
change. He recommends an approach that honors the contract established, with
adherence to the goals requested. If different goals are deemed crucial, the therapeutic
contract should be renegotiated explicitly with the client. If they, at the present time, do
not choose to pursue second-order change, attention to first-order change issues could
create the atmosphere of trust that allows for future exploration of second-order change
needs when the client is ready.
Instrumentation
In the following sections the researcher will detail the relevant literature concerning
the instruments chosen for this study: the Implications of Change grid (Hinkle, 1965), the
Short form of the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989), the Change
Index, and a demographic data questionnaire.
Implications of Change Grid
Kelly developed a personal construct Repertory grid test (or Rep Grid) to elicit and
analyze personal constructs (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). As a measure, the Rep Grid is
both idiographic and analyzable by statistical means, serving to increase understanding of

45
uniqueness as well as relationship to norms. Others have elaborated on his measures,
including ways to explore construct hierarchy, structure of constructs, flexibility of
construct application, and the implications of change.
The Implications of Change grid, or Imp Grid, focuses on the organization of an
individual’s construct hierarchy, rather than any particular construct in and of itself
(Hinkle, 1965). The Implications of Change grid is widely discussed as a measurement
strategy of merit for use with construct hierarchies (Dempsey & Neimeyer, 1995). It
gains its significance from Kelly’s Organization Corollary, which emphasizes the ordinal
relationships between constructs. Because much of a construct hierarchy is naturally
implicit and unverbalized (Kelly, 1955), an Implications of Change grid can illuminate
connections between constructs hitherto unknown.
When the implications of change for a particular client are known, such
implications may be discussed explicitly. Bannister and Fransella have found that
“people are unlikely to ‘give up’ something that is an integral part of themselves unless
they become aware of the personally meaningful implications of the alternative
(‘desired’) behavior” (1980, p. 144). In this way, counseling can utilize information
about implications to explore positive and negative predictions associated with either
change or absence of change.
Constructs can either be supplied by the researcher or elicited from the participant
for use in repertory grids. Either way there will be a personal attachment of meaning to
the construct. If the constructs are supplied, the researcher is essentially providing a
verbal label to which the participant will attach personal meaning. “All constructs are

46
‘personal’ in the sense that the person is able to place the construct’s dimension over
events and make something of them” (Fransella & Bannister, 1977, p. 19).
The potential drawback to supplying constructs is that another’s constructs are
never quite as meaningful to an individual as their own (Kelly, 1955). And, in a group
situation, there will be subtle differences in the manner in which each makes use of the
supplied constructs. Because of this, constructs were elicited from respondents for use on
their Implications of Change grids. The drawback associated with elicitation is the
related difficulty of comparing the content of the constructs chosen by individuals
because of their inevitable variability. However, when evaluating relative connectedness
of structure (Crockett & Meisel, 1974), particular content becomes secondary to habits of
application, which function independently of any particular construct.
Tests are considered to be good if they are reliable, yet Kelly pointed out that
reliability could indicate that a test is insensitive to change (Landfield & Epting, 1987).
He preferred the term “consistency” to describe the dimension of stability, and talked of
both shorter-term and longer-term stabilities within the context of particular situations
and dimensions. Stability can be evaluated in terms of response to different situations, in
relation to constructs at different levels of superordinacy, or across time and development
of maturity. These views of reliability primarily address test validity, which Kelly
considered to more significant.
Consistency, of a construct or a valued hierarchy, should be interpreted in terms of
its usefulness to the individual (Landfield & Epting, 1987). It is not consistency for
consistency’s sake.

47
Rather it is his seeking to anticipate the whole world of events and thus relate
himself to them that best explains his psychological processes. If he acts to
preserve the system, it is because the system is an essential chart for his personal
adventures, not because it is a self-contained island of meaning. (Kelly, 1955, p. 50)
The most important dimension of consistency for a constructivist clinician is at the
level personal meaning. The consistent saliency, or superordinacy, of a particular
construct is more relevant than how that construct is applied at any particular moment
(Landfield & Epting, 1987). For example, an individual may construe himself as capable
one day, and incapable the next, yet he demonstrates consistency in prioritizing capability
as a valued personal dimension. “One searches for behavioral consistency at higher
levels of the construct system” (Landfield & Epting, 1987, p. 92).
This perspective of consistency affects interpretation of the reliability of a repertory
grid. Test-retest reliability, when defined as functioning at one pole of a dimension, is
inappropriate to the broader theory base of personal constructs. The tool, however,
should consistently elicit the same salient constructs or place the constructs within the
same, relatively stable hierarchy (Landfield & Epting, 1987). Although application of a
construct can be influenced by a number of contextual dimensions, the constructs
themselves, especially superordinate constructs, can be expected to be relatively
consistent and enduring (Kelly, 1955; Landfield & Cannell, 1988; Landfield & Epting,
1987), and hence, the dimension of hierarchy connectedness can be expected to remain
consistent as well (Crockett & Meisel, 1974).
Religious Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy is defined as persistence in the inherited forms of a codified practice
(Yannaras, 1992). An orthodox Christian “remains faithful to the original and authentic
formulation of a teaching, to the vigorous preservation of a consecrated practice, as

48
opposed to those who alter the original authenticity or depart from it” (1992, p. 85). In
this section, the researcher will outline various attempts to measure the degree of an
individual’s or group’s orthodoxy, and describe in depth the tool chosen for the purpose
of this study.
“Terms like fundamentalist, evangelical, born-again, and conservative Christian
have been used indiscriminately without much consideration given to their different
meanings” (Kellstedt & Smidt, 1991, p. 259). This lack of consensus on definition has
lead to a variety of measurement strategies, including the following: a) categorization of
individual by denominational affiliation, or classification of denomination into broader
religious categories; b) description of an individual according to theological beliefs (e. g.,
belief in the inerrancy of the Bible); and, c) inquiry into self-identification, such as
personal claims to be a fundamentalist or conservative Christian (Kellstedt & Smidt,
1991).
Different denominations have been categorized as either liberal or conservative on
the basis of similarities of beliefs, as well as demographic and socioeconomic
characteristics of their adherents (Kiecolt & Nelson, 1988). An approximate ordering
according to orthodoxy is as follows: Episcopal/Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran,
Disciples of Christ or Christian, Baptist, Southern Baptist, and the smaller religious
bodies, including Church of the Brethren, Church of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and
Mennonites. The Episcopal churches occupy the doctrinally liberal end of the spectrum,
gradually increasing in orthodoxy toward the end of the list. The midpoint between
liberal and orthodox falls somewhere between Lutheran and Disciples of Christ
denominations. A separate study on orthodoxy, religious discordance, and alienation

49
categorized denominations as follows: Episcopalian, American Lutheran, Methodist,
Presbyterian, and Disciples of Christ were considered theologically liberal or moderate;
Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Missouri Synod Lutheran, and fundamentalist sects
were considered theologically orthodox (Petersen, 1988).
Although individuals tend to affiliate based on similarities in values and beliefs,
there always exists a degree of variability within denominations. Idiographic measures
help a practitioner to avoid inaccurate assumptions of homogeneity and to standardize
testing and statistical description. An early measure of orthodoxy was developed by
Glock and Stark (1966), in which they asked individuals to articulate their acceptance of
certain orthodox beliefs.
Batson and colleagues developed a scale patterned after the Orthodoxy index
developed by Glock and Stark, designed to assess adherence to traditional doctrines
(Batson & Ventis, 1982). Their Doctrinal Orthodoxy Scale incorporated the use of a 9-
point Likert-type scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” Clouse
developed a similar scale to assess preference for conservative or liberal religious beliefs
using a 5- point Likert-type scale (Clouse, 1985; Holley, 1991).
The Christian Orthodoxy scale (CO) (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982) was created in
response to criticism of other measures of orthodoxy as being psychometrically deficient.
The CO scale is unidimensional, reliable, and valid. In prior usage, factor analysis has
continually revealed a single factor accounting for the majority of test score variance
(ranging from 58% to 74%). Mean inter-item correlation across eight samples fell
between .60 and .70, and Cronbach’s alpha was .98 (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). A
version of the CO was chosen for this study because of its superior psychometric

50
properties and the generic nature of its items (other measures of orthodoxy seemed biased
toward the doctrine of one or several particular denominations, rather than equally
representative of all).
In order to determine construct validity, the developers of the CO scale assessed its
relationship to more overt indices of religious orientation (e.g., frequency of church
attendance, prayer, and scriptural reading, as well as trust in the Bible and the church)
(Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). All correlations were moderately high in the expected
direction (p < .001). Such correlation with devotional behavior supports scale validity.
The CO has proven useful, with the only drawback being its length. The Short
Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) is a smaller version of the CO developed to address this
difficulty (Hunsberger, 1989). The SCO has been found to correlate with other valid,
reliable measures as strongly as CO (i.e., those who scored highly orthodox reported less
doubt about religious teachings, more interest in religion, more emphasis on religion in
the family background, more agreement with parental religious teachings, higher
frequency of church attendance, and stronger religious socialization influences in their
childhood). The SCO also correlated at .98 with CO 24-item scale (Hunsberger, 1989).
The SCO is six item inventory taken from the items on the CO that account for the
most variability (Hunsberger, 1989). Cronbach’s alpha is .93 - .95 and mean inter-item
correlation is .68 - .78. Using factor analysis, the author found a single large factor
accounting for always more than 75% of variance.
Change Index
The Change Index was developed by the researcher for the purpose of this study,
and consists of a series of questions intended to elicit openness to different types of

51
change. The types of change specifically addressed are first-order and second-order
change, as defined by Watzlawick, Weakland, and Fisch (1974) and explained in
Lyddon’s work (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993).
The Index contains 20 questions addressing a variety of change opportunities, from
very superficial to very complex. The respondent is required to indicate if the situation
presented itself, would they be willing to change in the way described by the question?
Half of the questions describe first-order changes and the other half describe second-order
changes. The Index is scored by totaling the number of times the individual responds
“yes,” that they would consider making the indicated change. Each instrument will yield
two scores ranging from 0-10: one for first-order change and one for second-order
change.
Content validity has been established for the instrument through consultation with
experts regarding the representativeness of items and theoretical validity of the constructs
tested. Four doctoral level, AAMFT licensed counseling professionals were asked to
review the instrument and provide feedback. That feedback was used to refine the
instrument. For example, some items were not clearly first-order or second-order change
options, according to the reviewers. These items were culled from the sample and will
not be included in the Index.
The instrument was then piloted on a group of individuals very much like the
sample that were used in the study (i.e., young, single, undergraduate students from one
of the universities participating in the study). They were asked to take the instrument and
then provide feedback on the instrument with regard to clarity, level of difficulty, and

52
relevance of change options. Their input has been used to refine the instructions and
administration process.
Demographic Variables
The demographic variables measured for the purpose of the study will include
gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, grade level
(whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior), age, marital status, and identification
as a Christian or non-Christian. Identification as Christian, age, and marital status will be
used as selection criteria based on population description. Other demographics will be
used for the purpose of sample description.
Summary
Religious value differences demand sophistication and accommodation on the part
of a counseling professional. Religion delineates, for some, a very influential aspect of
culture, permeating actions and personal goals as well as identity defining values or
constructs. These values, equated with George Kelly’s concept of a core construct
(Horley, 1991), help an individual make decisions, guide relationships, and negotiate the
process of change. Thus, information regarding an individual’s constructs, as they relate
to their own personal approach to change, are central to assessment and goal generation in
counseling.
Adequate methods to approach the unique needs of orthodox religious clients are
not currently available (Bergin, 1980; Worthington, 1986). Toward this end, researchers
have described religious orientation (Allport & Ross, 1967; Batson & Ventis,1982), value
convergence (Beutler, 1981), tolerance of differences (Worthington, 1991, 1988), and an

53
integration of these concepts within a model which describes the ways highly religious
individuals address the process of change.
One missing element in this line of research has been adequate research
methodology. In this study, the researcher will begin to explore the applicability of
Personal Construct theory and methods to describing the values of religiously orthodox
individuals and how these values influence the process of change. This will be done
through the measurement of construct hierarchy structure and religious orthodoxy, and
the modeling of the relationship of these to the type of change preferred by Christians.
The types of change preferred will be described as first-order or second-order,
relying on the definitions of researchers at the Mental Research Institute
(Watzlawick et al., 1974). Individuals prefer first- or second-order change based on their
commitment to and satisfaction with their self-defining values, and how they define the
nature of the problem at hand (Lyddon, 1990; Lyddon & Alford, 1993). An
understanding of an individual’s preference for type of change, as well as the relationship
between religious orthodoxy, construct structure, and preference for change, can facilitate
increased cultural understanding and appropriate goal setting strategies for counseling
professionals.

CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
This study was designed to investigate possible associations between levels of
construct hierarchy structure, degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal
change preferred among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students.
Gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level
(whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) were solicited as demographic variables
for the purpose of sample description. Construct hierarchy structure was measured using
Hinkle’s (1965) Implications of Change grid. Degree of orthodoxy was measured by the
Short Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989). Type of change preferred
was assessed through responses to the Change Index, developed by the author for
purposes of this study. Each of these instruments, as well as a short demographic
questionnaire, were administered to all participants.
This chapter is divided into several sections. In the first section, the research
approach, design, and variables of interest are discussed. In the second section, the
population, sample selection, recruitment procedures, and resultant sample are addressed.
In the third section, the instruments used in this study are presented. In the fourth section,
the procedures, collection of data, and recording of data are described. In the fifth
section, the research hypotheses for this study are presented. In the sixth section, the
methods of data analyses are discussed.
54

55
Research Design
This study was a correlational study designed to explore relationships among
chosen variables. In measuring personal constructs, one seeks to make explicit extant
differences, rather than to alter or influence current constructions of reality. Therefore, an
experimental design that includes treatment would complicate the process of observation
and obscure the idiosyncratic way of processing information that it seeks to measure.
Hence, the most appropriate design for the research questions posed in this study is the
one-time administration of relevant assessment instruments.
Data were collected on the variables of construct hierarchy structure, degree of
orthodoxy, and type of change preferred, as well as a series of demographic variables,
from 60 young (18 - 25), single, undergraduate college students. Gender, race, religious
denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level (whether freshman,
sophomore, junior, or senior) were solicited as demographic variables for the purpose of
sample description. A question was included within the demographic questionnaire to
indicate “non-Christian” status, if appropriate. (The scores of those who indicate non-
Christian beliefs were excluded from the analysis, because consideration of the vast
number of non-Christian religious and secular beliefs is beyond the scope of this study.)
All variables were treated as integral variables, and statistical regression was used to
generate a predictive model, summarizing the relationship between these variables.
In order to speculate about generalization, demographics such as gender, race,
religious denomination, personal counseling history, major, and grade level were gathered
as a part of the study.

56
Independent variables
The independent variables selected for this study are as follows:
Construct Hierarchy Structure - this score was ascertained by counting the number
of implications expressed in a participant’s Implications of Change grid (Appendix A)
(Hinkle, 1965), indicating degree of overall connectedness (Crockett & Meisel, 1974).
Individuals are loath to change on constructs which are connected by implication to a
core, highly valued construct; hence, those with a high degree of connectedness
demonstrate more areas of their construct system that are not open, or very resistant, to
change (Landfield & Epting, 1987). Construct Hierarchy Structure was treated as an
interval variable for the purpose of analysis, allowing for a range of scores from 0-90.
Christian Orthodoxy - operationalized in terms of total score on the Short form of
the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989) (Appendix B). The instrument
allowed participants to respond to questions regarding conservative, or orthodox, beliefs,
with a resultant score ranging from 6 - 42. Score on the SCO was treated as an interval
variable for the purpose of data analysis.
Dependent Variable
The dependent variable selected for this study is as follows:
Type of Change Preferred - operationalized in terms of a relative score on the
Change Index (Appendix C). This questionnaire is comprised of 20 hypothetical options
for change, half of which would require first-order changes and half of which would
require second-order changes. It thus yields a separate score for each scale ranging from
0 - 10, indicating willingness to consider each type of change. Relevant to this study is
the relationship between the degree of an individual’s construct hierarchy structure and

57
their openness to second-order changes. Therefore, analysis only considered the scores
indicating the participants’ preference for second-order change.
Descriptor Variables
The following demographic variables were elicited to aid in sample description and
indicate useful directions for future research:
Demographics - self-report data regarding gender, race, religious denomination,
personal counseling history, major, and grade level were collected using a short
questionnaire (Appendix D). All of the demographic variables are categorical, rather than
interval. A question was included to elicit non-Christian status in order to eliminate from
the sample those who do not define themselves as Christians.
Research Hypotheses
In this study the following hypotheses were tested:
Hypothesis I: The degree of connectedness within an individual’s construct
hierarchy structure is significantly associated with the degree of religious orthodoxy.
Hypothesis II: The degree of connectedness within an individual’s construct
hierarchy structure is significantly associated with their preference for second order
change.
Hypothesis HI: An individual’s degree of religious orthodoxy is significantly
associated with their preference for second order change.
Hypothesis IV: The degree of connectedness within an individual’s construct
hierarchy structure and their degree of religious orthodoxy is significantly associated with
their preference for second-order change.

58
Population
The population for this study was unmarried individuals between the ages of 18 and
25 who were enrolled as undergraduate students in a college or university and identified
themselves as Christian. The following academic institutions participated in this study:
Charleston Southern University - A private coeducational university with fully
accredited four year liberal arts college. Accepted as an institution by the South Carolina
Baptist Convention in 1964. Mission statement: “academic excellence in a Christian
environment for students of all faiths;” dedicated to emotional, intellectual, and spiritual
development. Undergraduate enrollment: 2,187 men and women.
The College of Charleston - A State funded, coeducational institution offering
traditional liberal arts disciplines. Founded in 1770, the College of Charleston is the
oldest institution of higher learning in South Carolina. Undergraduate enrollment: 2,701
men, 4,421 women full time; 490 men, 650 women part time.
Sampling Procedures
A description of this research proposal was submitted for review and approval to
the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (Committee for the Protection of
Fluman Subjects). Approval was granted (Appendix E) with the inclusion of an informed
^consent form for participants (Appendix F).
Recruitment of Participants
To recruit study participants, professors of undergraduate, human service related
classes (e.g., psychology, sociology, child development, religion, and education) in the
selected colleges were contacted by the researcher. The request included an offer on the
part of the researcher to lecture for the professor on either the results of the study or

59
another relevant topic that the researcher is qualified to deliver. In return, the professor
was asked to help arrange a time for instrument administration and offer extra credit to
students willing to participate. Four professors agreed to allow the researcher to solicit
their students and offered extra credit for their participation equal to no more than 2% of
the student’s final grade.
Next, the individual members of the classes were solicited directly for participation
in the study. This was done in cooperation with the suggestions of the professors of each
college and any other administrative entities (e.g., the College of Charleston requested
that the researcher submit the study to their human subjects review committee for
approval prior to administration).
All individuals willing to participate were informed regarding possible
administration times, scheduled beforehand by participating professors. Three professors
were willing to allow the researcher to administer the instruments during the scheduled
class period, and one preferred administration at a different time. 105 individuals chose
to participate, 60 of which fit predetermined sample description and completed the
instruments correctly.
Sampling Criteria
The age range of the participants was limited to those between 18 and 25 years old.
This was done to limit the error due to age, cohort, and developmental stage. In order to
control for differences due to marital status, only single students were used. Participants
were all currently enrolled as undergraduate students, limiting the effects of educational
level on study results. Individuals with observable behaviors indicating gross pathology

60
were also eliminated, focusing the predictive ability of the model for a relatively
“normal” population.
This particular study considered the relationship between orthodoxy and construct
connectedness for those with Christian beliefs. For this reason, non-Christians, whether
atheist, agnostic, or of a different faith, such as Muslim or Hindu, were not included in
the sample. The demographic questionnaire contains an item regarding one’s self-
identification as a Christian, which was used as a selection criteria for participation in this
study.
Resultant Sample
The resultant sample contained a total of 60 participants, all single, Christian
undergraduate college students. As can be noted in Table 1, the majority of the
participants were seniors or juniors (43.3 and 40.0%, respectively), between the ages of
20 and 21 (51.7%), female (91.7%), white (70.0%), and social science majors (66.7%). A
sizable percentage of the participants were 22 or 23 years old (31.7%), but few were older
(8.3%) or younger (8.3%). Roughly twenty-eight percent were African American, and
only one participant was “other” (i.e., not African American, Caucasian, or Asian).
Baptist was the most prevalent denomination (30.0%), followed by Catholic (15.0%),
Methodist (15.0%), Presbyterian (10.0%), and Episcopal (8.3%). Forty-five percent of
the participants had never participated in counseling of any form, 25.0% had been to what
they would consider a Christian or Pastoral counselor, 15.0% to a secular counselor, and
11.7% to both Christian and secular counselors. Most of the study participants attended
Charleston Southern University (71.7%), rather than the College of Charleston (28.3%).

61
Table 1. Description of the Sample
Resultant Sample (n=60)
Total Sample (n=94)
Category
Number
%
Number
%
Major
Psychology/Sociology
40
66.7%
51
54.3%
Education
7
11.7%
8
8.5%
Criminal Justice
5
8.3%
13
13.8%
Business
3
5.0%
10
10.6%
Nursing
2
3.3 %
2
2.1%
Religion
1
1.7%
2
2.1%
Biology
1
1.7%
1
1.1%
Liberal Arts
0
0.0%
5
5.3%
Undecided
1
1.7%
2
2.1%
Grade
Freshman
1
1.7%
3
3.2%
Sophomore
9
15.0%
15
16.0%
Junior
24
40.0%
35
37.2%
Senior
26
43.3%
40
42.6%
Graduate
0
0.0%
1
1.1%
Age
18-19
5
8.3%
5
5.3%
20-21
31
51.7%
36
38.3%
22-23
19
31.7%
26
27.7%
24-25
5
8.3%
5
5.3%
>25
0
0.0%
22
23.4%
Marital Status
Married
0
0.0%
20
21.3%
Divorced
0
0.0%
7
7.4%
Single
60
100.0%
65
69.1%
Widowed
0
0.0%
1
1.1%
Other
0
0.0%
1
1.1%
Gender
Female
55
91.7%
81
86.2%
Male
5
8.3%
13
13.8%
Race
African American
17
28.3%
25
26.6%
Caucasian
42
70.0%
67
71.3%
Asian
0
0.0%
1
1.1%
Other
1
1.7%
1
1.1%

62
Table 1.—continued
Resultant Sample (n=60)
Total Sample (n=94)
Category
Number
%
Number
%
Religious Identification
Christian
60
100.0%
90
95.7%
Non-Christian
0
0.0%
2
2.1%
Other
0
0.0%
2
2.1%
Christian Denomination
Baptist
18
30.0%
29
30.9%
Catholic
9
15.0%
13
13.8%
Methodist
9
15.0%
12
12.8%
Presbyterian
6
10.0%
8
8.5%
Episcopal
5
8.3%
8
8.5%
AME
2
3.3%
3
3.2%
Unitarian
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
Assembly of God
1
1.7%
2
2.1%
Other
10
16.7%
19
20.2%
Participation in Counseling
No
27
45.0%
39
41.5%
Christian/Pastoral
15
25.0%
22
23.4%
Secular
9
15.0%
14
14.9%
No Counselor
1
1.7%
3
3.2%
Other
1
1.7%
4
4.3%
Christian and Secular
7
11.7%
12
12.8%
University
Charleston Southern Univ.
43
71.7%
72
76.6%
College of Charleston
17
28.3%
22
23.4%
Data Collection Procedures
Each participant was introduced to the study and given a packet of instruments,
including the following: 1) the Implications of Change grid, 2) a questionnaire assessing
religious orthodoxy (the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale), 3) a questionnaire which
elicits type of change preferred (Change Index), and 4) a self-report questionnaire
regarding participant demographics. The instructions for the Implications of Change grid
were given verbally (see instructions, included with the instrument in Appendix A). The

63
other instruments include written instructions, and all instruments collectively required
approximately an hour of the participant’s time (30 minutes for the Implications of
Change grid, 10 minutes for the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale, 10 minutes for the
Change Index, and 10 minutes for the demographic questionnaire). The researcher was
present at all administrations to clarify any questions about the instruments and
procedures. As such, the testing situations was standardized to remove risk of error due
to inconsistency of administration. Those indicating an interest in receiving information
about the study results were notified upon completion of data analysis regarding study
results and given an opportunity to ask any questions they had about the research
procedures or their particular responses.
Instrumentation
Four instruments were used in this study: 1) the Implications of Change grid
(Hinkle, 1965), 2) the Short form of the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger,
1989), 3) the Change Index, and 4) a demographic data questionnaire.
Implications of Change Grid
Hinkle’s (1965) Implications of Change grid, or Imp Grid, is one of a number of
Personal Construct repertory grids with which a practitioner may elicit and illuminate an
individual’s construct system. Arising from Personal Construct Theory’s (PCT) priority
on personal meaning, a repertory, or “rep,” grid is designed to allow an individual to
articulate significant descriptors across a variety of contexts. Each grid contains a series
of “elements,” which can be made up of roles, important relationships, situations,
concepts, or other categories determined relevant by the researcher, to elicit related

64
constructs. The constructs can then be used, statistically or clinically, to further the goals
of the inquiry.
Use of the grid to gather information was a technique developed within a clinical,
rather than a research context. For George Kelly, the purpose of psychological
measurement was to “survey pathways along which the subject is free to move, and the
primary purpose of clinical diagnosis is the plotting of the most feasible course of
movement” (1955, p. 203). For this reason, grid results are closely tied to clinical
intervention.
Constructs for use in the 10 x 10 implications repertory grid were elicited from the
participants. The subjects were first asked to record their ten most positive
characteristics, and then their ten most negative. They were then asked to provide their
own opposites for each of the characteristics. They were allowed five minutes to select
the positive characteristics, five minutes to select the negative, and five minutes to list the
opposites. From their own individual pools of constructs, they were asked to choose ten
that they considered to be the most important, yet different from one another.
Each participant then completed the grid by comparing each of the constructs to
every other construct. They were asked to determine if change on the first construct
implied change on the second construct, and so forth. Possible responses included the
following: that change on the first implies change on the second (+), or that there would
be no implications for change Each construct was then compared to each of the
others a total of 9 times. Theoretically, change on construct #1 could imply change on
construct #2 without change on #2 having implications for change on #1, indicating a

65
one-way relationship between the constructs. Therefore, each of the constructs were
compared to each of the others in order to establish directionality of implication.
An administration of the grid allows each participant to project for themselves how
change on a specific construct would affect their relationship to other constructs. For
example, if a participant was to change from confident to unconfident, would that also
imply a change from kind to cruel? In this way all of the constructs were compared to all
of the other constructs, demonstrating which of them imply change in others. The ones
that have more implications are considered to be more meaningful, and hence are
superordinate (Landfield & Canned, 1988).
Many responses of known implications indicate a construct system dominated by
one superordinate construct; few known implications can suggest that the person has
difficulty integrating their beliefs because few things imply others (Fransella & Bannister,
1977). Both of these situations illustrate the relative stability of constructs or groups of
constructs. Data from the Implications of Change grid can allow a clinician to develop a
hypothetical picture of how a person thinks, feels, values, and behaves in relation to his or
her hierarchies (Landfield & Canned, 1988).
Tests are considered to be good if they are reliable, yet Kelly pointed out that
reliability could indicate that a test is insensitive to change (Landfield & Epting,1987).
He preferred the term consistency to describe the dimension of stability, and talked in
terms of both shorter-term and longer-term stabilities within the context of particular
situations and dimensions. Stability can be evaluated in terms of response to different
situations, in relation to constructs at different levels of superordinacy, or across time and

66
development of maturity. These views of reliability primarily address test validity, which
Kelly considered to be more significant.
The most important dimension of consistency for a constructivist clinician is at the
level of personal meaning. The consistent saliency, or superordinacy, of a particular
construct is more relevant than how that construct is applied at any particular moment
(Landfield & Epting, 1987). For example, an individual may construe himself as capable
one day, and incapable the next, yet he demonstrates consistency in prioritizing capability
as a valued personal dimension. In evaluating functionality of constructs, “one searches
for behavioral consistency at higher levels of the construct system” (Landfield & Epting,
1987, p. 92).
This perspective of consistency affects interpretation of the reliability of a repertory
grid. Test-retest reliability, defined as functioning consistently at one pole of a construct
dimension, is inappropriate to the broader theory base of personal constructs. The tool,
however, should consistently elicit the same salient constructs or place the constructs
within the same, relatively stable hierarchy (Landfield & Epting, 1987). Although
application of a construct can be influenced by a number of contextual dimensions, the
constructs themselves, especially superordinate constructs, can be expected to be
relatively consistent and enduring (Kelly, 1955; Landfield & Cannell, 1988; Landfield &
Epting, 1987).
With this in mind, when evaluating consistency in patterns of relationship between
constructs (i.e., construct hierarchy structure), one straightforward way is to utilize an
index of factorial similarity (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). This has been used on a large
number of studies with Repertory grids, yielding reliability coefficients between .60 and

67
.80, and with Implications of Change grids, scoring slightly above average (i.e., .82) and
even higher with the least stable construct removed (i.e., .89).
Hunt (1951) demonstrated that 70 percent of elicited constructs were repeated with
a week interval between grid administrations. Fjeld and Landfield (1961) repeated his
experiment, and were able to show that over a two week interval, with consistent
elements, the reliability of elicited constructs was .80. When asked to provide elements
fitting to role titles, Pedersen (1958) found a 77 percent reproduction of elements with a
week interval intervening.
These studies were done in large groups, effectively minimizing individual
variability. As might be suspected of an instrument sensitive to personal styles of
construing, individuals demonstrate widely varying degrees of stability on repeat grids.
Differing degrees of stability are clinically associated with types of pathology. Normal
and psychiatric populations, in general, can be expected to fall in the range of .60 - .80,
whereas thought disordered populations score closer to .20 (Fransella & Bannister, 1977).
Because these differences reflect relevant variations in thought processing, grid reliability
is often a measure of the population, rather than of the test itself.
Because the study focused on construct hierarchy structure, rather than content, the
grids were scored to indicate the degree of connectedness between constructs. This was
evaluated by counting the total number of implications inferred between all constructs on
an individual’s grid, whether they be one-way or two-way (Crockett & Meisel, 1974).
The resultant score was an integer between zero and ninety, indicating a relative degree of
connectedness between constructs.

68
Short Form of the Christian Orthodoxy Scale
Orthodoxy has been described as the acceptance of well defined central tenets of
the Christian religion (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). The Christian Orthodoxy Scale
(CO) (Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982) was developed to measure such variables. To
determine construct validity, the developers of the CO scale assessed its relationship to
more overt indices of religious orientation (e.g., frequency of church attendance, prayer,
and scriptural reading, as well as trust in the Bible and the church). All correlations were
moderately high in expected direction (p < .001). Such correlation with devotional
behavior supports scale validity.
The CO was created in response to criticism of other measures of orthodoxy as
being psychometrically deficient. The CO scale is unidimensional, reliable and valid. In
prior usage, factor analysis has continually revealed a single factor accounting for the
majority of test score variance (ranging from 58% to 74%). Mean inter-item correlation
across eight samples fell between .60 and .70, and Cronbach’s alpha was .98 (Fullerton &
Hunsberger, 1982). A version of the CO was chosen for this study because of its superior
psychometric properties and the generic nature of its items (other measures of orthodoxy
seemed biased toward the doctrine of one or several particular denominations, rather than
equally representative of all).
CO has proven to be useful, with the only drawback being its length (24 items).
Hunsberger (1989) went on to develop a shortened version of the CO by carefully
selecting items most representative of the construct of orthodoxy. The Short Christian
Orthodoxy scale (SCO) correlates with other valid, reliable measures as strongly as the
CO (i.e., those that scored highly on the instrument reported less doubt about religious

69
teachings, more interest in religion, more emphasis on religion in the family background,
more agreement with parental religious teachings, higher frequency of church attendance,
and stronger religious socialization influences in their childhood). The SCO also
correlated at .98 with CO 24-item scale (Hunsberger, 1989), demonstrating a strong
relationship between the items chosen for the SCO and the whole of the CO.
SCO is six item paper-and-pencil inventory, taking approximately 10 minutes to
administer. The scale is scored by adding “conservative” responses, which entails
reversing several items, resulting in a score ranging from 6-42. Cronbach’s alpha is .93 -
.95, and mean inter-item correlation is between .68 - .78. Factor analysis revealed a
single large factor accounting for always more than 75% of variance (Hunsberger, 1989).
Change Index
Although there has not been empirical exploration of the concepts of first- and
second-order change, these distinctions have been useful for conceptualizing and
planning treatment (Lyddon & Alford, 1993). The Change Index provides a means of
quantifying one’s openness to each type of change through a series of hypothetical change
options. On each option, the respondent is asked to address the following questions: if a
particular situation presented itself, would they consider changing in the specified way?
And, if they would consider changing, how significant would that change be?
The Change Index yields scores on two scales: openness to first-order change and
openness to second-order change. Each scale score can range from zero, meaning the
participant would not consider changing in any of the situations presented, to ten,
meaning that they would consider changing in all of the situations presented. The score
indicates a relative openness to the two types of change, and is useful for comparisons

70
between individuals and groups. The question regarding the degree of personal
significance associated with each change yields a score form 0-3, indicating the
following: the item is scored “0” if the individual is not willing to change on that
dimension; “1” if the change would be insignificant; “2” if the change would be
moderately significant; and, “3” if the change would be very significant. The questions
regarding significance will not be treated as predictor variables or included in the data
analysis for the purposes of this study.
Content validity on the Change Index has been established through the use of expert
evaluation concerning representativeness of items and discernment of theoretical validity
of constructs tested. Four doctoral level, AAMFT licensed professionals were asked to
review the instrument and provide feedback. The feedback was incorporated, and the
experts were asked to review the instrument a second time to approve corrections.
The instrument was also piloted on a sample similar to the one that was used for the
study to gain feedback on clarity, relevance, and ease in administration. Their input was
used to refine the instructions and administration process.
Demographic Data Questionnaire
Demographic information was gathered using a questionnaire developed by the
researcher. Marital status and age was solicited to assess participant match with
population definition. Gender, race, religious denomination, personal counseling history,
major, and grade level (whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) were solicited
for the purpose of sample description (Appendix D).

71
Data Analyses
Instrument scores were totaled to provide statistical description of the resultant
sample, to include sample means, standard deviations, and correlations between variables.
Multiple regression was then used to model the relationship of construct hierarchy
structure and degree of orthodoxy to type of change preferred, noting which of the
independent variables accounted for the bulk of the variance. The result was the
generation of a predictive model which might be useful to counselors when assessing the
relationship of orthodoxy and construct hierarchy to the type of change preferred.
Summary
This study was designed to investigate possible associations between levels of
construct hierarchy structure, degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of personal
change preferred among young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students.
The sample was drawn from an undergraduate college population, and was limited
to single students between the ages of 18 and 25. Gender, race, religious denomination,
personal counseling history, major, and grade level (whether freshman, sophomore,
junior, or senior) were solicited for the purpose of sample description.
The instruments used in this study include the Implications of Change grid (Hinkle,
1965), the Short form of the Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) (Hunsberger, 1989), the
Change Index, and a demographic data questionnaire. Procedures for collection of data
were standardized in order to prevent error due to bias in administration.

72
CHAPTER IV
RESULTS
The purpose of this study was to utilize George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory
to examine the nature of the construct system of those individuals differing in their degree
of religious orthodoxy, and the impact these variables have on the process of change.
More specifically, possible associations between levels of construct hierarchy structure,
degree of religious orthodoxy, and the type of change preferred among young, single,
Christian, undergraduate college students was examined. The researcher used the
statistical analysis of instrument scores to describe the relationships between personal
construct connectedness, degree of religious orthodoxy, type of change preferred, and
particular demographic variables (i.e., gender, race, religious denomination, personal
counseling history, major, and grade level). This was accomplished through a series of
analyses, including descriptive statistics, computation of correlation coefficients, and use
of regression in an effort to generate a predictive model regarding the relationship
between independent variables, the dependent variable, and participant demographics. A
series of post hoc analyses were then performed on the entire group of participants,
including those originally eliminated according to sample description, to further explore
the relationship between study variables. The results of the data analysis are presented in
this chapter.

73
Analysis of Hypothesis I
The first hypothesis addressed the relationship between the connectedness of an
individual’s construct hierarchy structure and their degree of religious orthodoxy. The
researcher first described the sample in terms of variable means and standard deviations,
as well as range of scores. The variables were then evaluated for correlation, yielding
Pearson Correlation Coefficients (see Table 2). This procedure revealed correlation
values ranging from 0.00252 (orthodoxy and tendency toward second-order change) to
0.08374 (orthodoxy and construct hierarchy connectedness), indicating almost no linear
association between variables. The p-values, listed below the correlation values, are all
greater that 0.05, indicating that none of the correlations are significantly different than
0.00. In other words, none of the correlations between variables were significant.
Table 2. Simple Statistics and Correlation Analysis
Simple Statistics
Variable
N
Mean
Std Dev
Sum
Minimum
Maximum
OR
60
39.7167
3.7647
2383.0
26.0000
42.0000
C
60
32.0167
11.3593
1921.0
11.0000
68.0000
SOC
60
5.0667
2.0241
304.0
1.0000
10.0000
Pearson Correlation Coefficients / Prob > IRI under Ho: Rho=0 / N = 59
OR
C
SOC
OR
1.00000
0.0
0.08374
0.5247
0.00252
0.9847
C
0.08374
0.5247
1.00000
0.0
0.01248
0.9246
SOC
0.00252
0.9847
0.01248
0.9246
1.00000
0.0
The means and standard deviations reveal an unexpected high average score on the
orthodoxy measure, with a small degree of variability in sample scores. The mean score

74
for the degree of religious orthodoxy was 39.7167 and the standard deviation was 3.7647.
If the scores of the sample had resulted in a normal distribution, approximately 68% of
the sample scores would fall between 35.95 and 43.48. As it was, 88.33% of the scores
fell between 35 and 42. From a total of 60 responses, with a possible range of 6 - 42, five
(5) scores were between 30 and 35, and only two (2) were less than 30 (i.e., a 26 and a
28). No scores fell between 6 and 24, which is the liberal end of the scale, so not even
the lower of the sample scores can truly be considered “liberal.” Therefore, the scores on
the orthodoxy measure are heavily skewed towards the orthodox end of the scale. This
overrepresentation of religiously orthodox scores on the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale
may have had a large impact on the rest of the analyses and the ability of the procedures
to detect differences in a sample this size.
The regression model for Hypothesis I treated degree of religious orthodoxy as the
dependent variable and degree of construct hierarchy structure connectedness as the
independent variable. First an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was performed, revealing
an F-value of 0.410 and a p-value of 0.5247. Again, the p-value would only be
significant if less than 0.05. The R-square value is less than 1.0%, indicating that this
model accounts for almost none of the variance in the system.
Table 3 contains the results of the ANOVA and the parameter estimates. The
intercept was 38.828 and the coefficient for the independent variable (construct hierarchy
structure connectedness) was 0.028, yielding the regression equation of OR = 38.828 +
0.028(C), with OR being the degree of religious orthodoxy and C being construct
hierarchy structure connectedness. Note that the standard error, especially for the
connectedness parameter estimate, is very large when compared to the parameter value.

75
The t-value for the connectedness parameter is 0.640, and the p-value 0.5247, neither of
which is significant. This indicates that the regression model equation does not predict
the values significantly better than using the mean value for the variable being predicted,
and thus Hypothesis I must be rejected.
Table 3. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis I
Analysis of Variance
Source
DF
Sum of
Squares
Mean
Square
F Value
Prob > F
Model
1
5.86375
5.86375
0.410
0.5247
Error
58
830.31958
14.31585
C Total
59
836.18333
Root MSE
3.78363
R-square
0.0070
Dep Mean
39.71667
Adj R-sq
-0.0101
C.V.
9.52655
Parameter Estimates
Variable
DF
Parameter
Standard
T for HO:
Prob >
Estimate
Error
Parameter=0
ITI
INTERCEP
1
38.828107
1.47179736
26.381
0.0001
C
1
0.027753
0.04336419
0.640
0.5247
Analysis of Hypothesis II
The second hypothesis evaluated the relationship between the degree of
connectedness within an individual’s construct hierarchy structure and their preference
for second order change. The results were similar to those obtained regarding
Hypothesis I in that the regression model did not account for a great deal of the variance
within the data, nor did it reveal significant relationships, allowing for prediction of the
dependent variable (preference for second order change) from the independent (construct
hierarchy structure connectedness). The ANOVA revealed an F-value of 0.009 and a p-

76
value of 0.9246 (see Table 4), which is not significant. The R-square was 0.0002,
revealing a low ability to account for the variance in the data. The regression equation is
SOC = 4.995 + 0.00222(C), with SOC being preference for second order change and C
being construct hierarchy structure connectedness. The t-value for the connectedness
parameter is 0.095, and the p-value is 0.9246. This indicates that the regression model
equation does not predict the values significantly better than using the mean value for the
variable being predicted, and thus Hypothesis II must be rejected.
Table 4. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis II
Analysis of Variance
Source
DF
Sum of
Squares
Mean
Square
F Value
Prob > F
Model
1
0.03766
0.03766
0.009
0.9246
Error
58
241.69567
4.16717
C Total
59
241.73333
Root MSE
2.04136
R-square
0.0002
Dep Mean
5.06667
Adj R-sq
-0.0171
C.V.
40.29008
Parameter Estimates
Variable
DF
Parameter
Standard
T for HO:
Prob >
Estimate
Error
Parameter=0
ITI
INTERCEP
1
4.995453
0.79407187
6.291
0.0001
C
1
0.002224
0.02339607
0.095
0.9246
Analysis of Hypothesis III
The third hypothesis evaluated the relationship between the an individual’s degree
of religious orthodoxy and their preference for second order change. The results were
similar to those obtained regarding Hypothesis I in that the regression model did not
account for a great deal of the variance within the data, nor did it reveal significant

77
relationships, allowing for prediction of the dependent variable (preference for second
order change) from the independent (degree of religious^ orthodoxy). The ANOVA
revealed an F-value of 0.0008 and a p-value of 0.9847 (see Table 5), which is not
significant. The R-square was 0.00004, revealing a low ability to account for the variance
in the data. The regression equation is SOC = 5.0128 + 0.001355(OR), with SOC being
preference for second order change and OR being the degree of religious orthodoxy. The
t-value for the orthodoxy parameter is 0.019, and the p-value is 0.9847. This indicates
that the regression model equation does not predict the values significantly better than
using the mean value for the variable being predicted, and thus Hypothesis III must be
rejected.
Table 5. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis III
Analysis of Variance
Source
DF
Sum of
Squares
Mean
Square
F Value
Prob > F
Model
1
0.00154
0.00154
0.0008
0.9847
Error
58
241.73180
4.16779
C Total
59
241.73333
Root MSE
2.04152
R-square
0.00004
Dep Mean
5.06667
Adj R-sq
-0.0172
C.V.
40.29309
Parameter Estimates
Variable
DF
Parameter
Standard
T for HO:
Prob >
Estimate
Error
Parameter=0
ITI
INTERCEP
1
5.012836
2.81633942
1.780
0.0803
OR
1
0.001355
0.07059958
0.019
0.9847
Analysis of Hypothesis IV
The fourth hypothesis evaluated the interaction between the degree of
connectedness within an individual’s construct hierarchy structure and their degree of

78
religious orthodoxy, and the relationship between this interaction and the individual’s
preference for second order change. The results were similar to those obtained regarding
Hypothesis I in that the regression model did not account for a great deal of the variance
within the data, nor did it reveal significant relationships, allowing for prediction of the
dependent variable (preference for second order change) from the independent variables
(degree of construct hierarchy structure and degree of religious orthodoxy). The ANOVA
revealed an F-value of 0.005 and a p-value of 0.9955 (see Table 6), which is not
significant. The R-square was 0.0002, revealing a low ability to account for the variance
in the data. The regression equation is (SCO) = 4.964 + 0.0022(C) + 0.0008(OR), with
SCO being preference for second order change, C being construct hierarchy structure
connectedness, and OR being the degree of religious orthodoxy. The t-value for the
connectedness parameter is 0.093, and the p-value is 0.9262. The t-value for the
orthodoxy parameter is 0.011, and the p-value is 0.9911. This indicates that the
regression model equation does not predict the values significantly better than using the
mean value for the variable being predicted, and thus Hypothesis IV must be rejected.

79
Table 6. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for Hypothesis IV
Analysis of Variance
Source
DF
Sum of
Squares
Mean
Square
F Value
Prob > F
Model
2
0.03819
0.01910
0.005
0.9955
Error
57
241.69514
4.24027
C Total
59
241.73333
Root MSE
2.05919
R-square
0.0002
Dep Mean
5.06667
Adj R-sq
-0.0349
C.V.
40.64192
Parameter Estimates
Variable
DF
Parameter
Standard
T for HO:
Prob >
Estimate
Error
Parameter=0
ITI
INTERCEP
1
4.964431
2.88802972
1.719
0.0910
C
1
0.002202
0.02368357
0.093
0.9262
OR
1
0.000799
0.07146179
0.011
0.9911
Post Hoc Analysis
In order to further explore the sample responses and explain the lack of significance
in earlier results, the researcher conducted several post hoc statistical procedures. The
original data set, prior to elimination of participants based on population parameters,
consisted of 94 usable responses (i.e., correctly completed test batteries). Rather than
being limited as specified in the original hypotheses, this group ranged in age from 18 to
54; had participants that were single, married, or divorced; included non-Christians
(n = 2) and agnostics (n = 3), as well Christians; and included one graduate student with
the 93 undergraduate students. All post hoc analyses were performed on this entire data
set (see Description of the Sample in Table 1).

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The newly defined sample was then evaluated for correlations between
demographic variables, total instrument scores, and particular individual items from the
Change Index. The second-order change items from the Change Index were also
grouped, according to theme and purpose, to explore the ability of these groupings to
explain the variance in the scores. The groupings of the second-order change items were
as follows: questions 2, 12, and 18 were grouped as items which address issues of
identity (ID); questions 5, 8, 10, and 13 were grouped as items which address religious
and political values (RPV); and questions 7, 17, and 20 were grouped as items which
address interpersonal dynamics (IPD). These subgroupings were evaluated for correlation
with all other instrument and demographic variables, as well.
When the descriptive and correlational analyses were repeated with the entire data
set, the researcher found a variety of statistically significant relationships. These
relationships are described in Table 7. The rows and columns of Table 7 are labeled
according to the research variables, as follows:
C = construct hierarchy structure score
OR = degree of orthodoxy
GRA = year in college
AGE = age
SOC = total score on second-order change items of the Change Index
ID = total score on identity related second-order change items of the
Change Index
RPV = total score on religious/political value second-order change items of
the Change Index
IPD = total score on interpersonal dynamic second-order change items of
the Change Index
Q1 — Q20 = individual items on the Change Index, with the second-order change
items denoted with gray shading.

81
Table 7. Significant Correlations between Study Variables (p < 0.10)
w Change Index items related to Identity (ID)
Rrv Change Index items related to Religious and Political Values (RPV)
,rD Change Index items related to Interpersonal Dynamics (IPD)

82
From the review of the analysis it was concluded that, even with the expanded
sample, few variables were significantly related to the others when the criteria for
significance was p < 0.05. However, there were several interesting relationships noted
with p-values greater than 0.05, but less than 0.10. With this more inclusive criteria of
significance, age was found to be positively related to degree of religious orthodoxy
(R-square = 0.172, p = 0.976). In other words, as age increases, so do participant scores
on the orthodoxy index. Clearly, including a broader variety of age groups did not serve
to increase the representation of liberal Christians in the resultant sample.
Orthodoxy was also significantly associated with the religious and political value
items (RPV) of the Change Index (R-square = -0.183, p = 0.0771). The correlation was
negative, indicating that as the degree of orthodoxy increases, tendency toward changes in
religious and political values decreases. Those who are more orthodox are less open to
changing in these areas. This relationship is predicted by the review of literature and the
relevant theory concerning these variables. However, the relationship demands further
exploration, due to the unanswered psychometric questions concerning the Change Index.
The correlations between research variables and particular items on the Change
Index are included in Table 7, as well. It should be noted that an RPV item was
negatively correlated with age (Question #5, R-square = -0.195, p = 0.0594), as well as
one of the first-order change items (Question #16, R-square = -0.264, p = 0.0103).
Therefore, as age increased, tendency toward change on these items decreased.
Orthodoxy also bore a negative relationship to RPV Question #13 (R-square = -0.252,
p = 0.0145), but a positive relationship towards first-order change Question #11
(R-square = 0.242, p = 0.0190). Construct connectedness was negatively correlated with

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Question #9 (R-square = -0.187, p = 0.0707), and positively correlated with Question #1
(R-square = 0.181, p = 0.0803) and IPD Question #17 (R-square = 0.203, p = 0.0500).
These correlations are not the proper foundation for theoretical conclusions, but may aid
in review and revision of the Change Index for future research purposes.
After the descriptive statistics were generated (i.e., means, standard deviations,
correlations, etc.) for the new data set, statistical regression was used according to each of
the original hypotheses in order to describe any predictable relationships among variables.
Again, none of the p-values for the ANOVAs were significant at the p<0.05 level.
However, the relationship between orthodoxy (treated as an independent variable) and the
subgrouping of the second-order change items on the Change Index which address
religious and political values (RPV) accounts for a portion of the variance in the sample
scores. The ANOVA for this relationship revealed an F-value of 3.196 and a p-value of
0.0771 (see Table 8). Acceptance of a p-value < 0.10 as a test of significance is possible,
if stated before the data is collected or analyzed. A p-value <0.10 was not predicted
beforehand and this relationship was not addressed in the hypotheses, so it can not be
construed as a clear measure of the study’s predictions. However, the low p-value is
indicative of this model’s ability to account for a significant portion of the variance.

84
Table 8. Analysis of Variance and Parameter Estimates for the Relationship
between Orthodoxy and the Religious/Political Values Items of the Change Index
Analysis of Variance
Source
DF
Sum of
Squares
Mean
Square
F Value
Prob > F
Model
1
3.98028
3.98028
3.196
0.0771
Error
92
114.57291
1.24536
C Total
93
118.55319
Root MSE
1.11596
R-square
0.0336
Dep Mean
1.19149
Adj R-sq
0.0231
C.V.
93.66059
Parameter Estimates
Variable
DF
Parameter
Standard
T for HO:
Prob >
Estimate
Error
Parameter=0
ITI
INTERCEP
1
2.564775
0.77673497
3.302
0.0014
OR
1
-0.035270
0.01972868
-1.788
0.0771
The parameter estimates for the regression model indicated that the intercept was
2.565 and the coefficient for the independent variable (degree of orthodoxy) was -0.035,
yielding a regression equation of (RPV) = 2.565 + -0.035(OR), with RPV being the
religious and political value items on the Change Index and OR being the degree of
religious orthodoxy. The t-value for the orthodoxy parameter is -1.788, and the p-value is
0.0771. With the test for significance set at p < 0.10, this regression model predicts the
dependent variable values significantly better than using the mean value for variable
being predicted.
Summary
The analysis of the data collected for this study indicated that none of the
relationships addressed in the hypotheses were significant. The descriptive statistics

85
revealed an overrepresentation of orthodox scores on the measure of orthodoxy. The
majority of the orthodoxy scores fell in the top sixth of the range (i.e., between 36 and 42)
with a relatively small standard deviation and, therefore, little variance.
The Pearson Correlation Coefficients for the independent and dependent variables
were not significant, indicating that these variables have very little linear relationship
with one another. As would be expected in a sample with low correlation values, the F-
values and p-values of the ANOVAs for each hypothesis were not significant and
accounted for very little of the variance in the system. Therefore, the regression models
generated according to the hypotheses did not allow for prediction regarding these
variables as measured on this population.
A series of post hoc analyses were completed to further explore significant
relationships between study variables. The data set for the post hoc analyses included all
useable responses, regardless of age, marital status, or religious identification. The
analyses revealed a series of statistically significant relationships between demographics,
instrument scores, and responses on particular item groupings. One of the regression
equations generated by the post hoc analyses indicated a predictable relationship between
a subgroup of items from the Change Index (i.e., the religious and political value items)
and an individual’s degree of orthodoxy. The relevance of regular and post hoc analyses
is explored in Chapter V.

CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION
The primary objective of this study was to explore the relationships between the
degree of religious orthodoxy; the degree of connectedness within an individual’s
construct hierarchy system; and, the degree of openness to second-order change among
young, single, Christian, undergraduate college students. The goal of the study was the
development of a statistical model which would enable a counseling practitioner to
predict openness to second-order change from understanding a client’s construct system
structure and their degree of orthodoxy. The professional literature regarding these
variables predicted that individuals are loath to change constructs that are highly
connected to their core, identity-defining constructs (Fransella & Bannister, 1977; Hinkle,
1965; Kelly, 1955), and that those with highly connected construct systems have many
more seemingly peripheral constructs that are highly connected to the core (Crockett &
Meisel, 1974). Those whose religious beliefs are orthodox, by definition, cherish a set of
stable, relatively unchanging beliefs (Yannaras, 1992), and would be less willing to
change with regards to any constructs connected to those sacred beliefs (Bergin, 1980;
Worthington, 1988). Though the planned analyses did not bear out these assumptions in
the way they were measured on this particular sample, this study points to interesting
theoretical questions regarding the relationship between beliefs and change.
In this final chapter, the researcher discusses the results of each of the four
hypotheses and how these results relate to the professional literature regarding religious
86

87
orthodoxy, personal constructs, and openness to change. The researcher will present the
limitations of this study and offer explanations for the difference between predictions and
results. The results of the post hoc analyses will be discussed as well, and the
implications of these findings for both theory development and clinical practice will be
explored, noting population parameters and limits to generalizability. Finally, the
researcher will make recommendations for future study and summarize the discussion of
study results.
Discussion of Results
In the first hypothesis the researcher predicted that the nature of an individual’s
construct system hierarchy would bear a predictable relationship to their religious beliefs.
Specifically, it was predicted that different degrees of connectedness between constructs
would be significantly related to different degrees of religious orthodoxy. The analysis
demonstrated that these variables were not significantly related (i.e., that the correlation
between these variables as measured by the Implications of Change grid and the Short
Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) was not statistically significant). The regression model
derived from the responses on these variables is not one that will allow a practitioner to
predict the relationship between personal construct hierarchy structure and orthodoxy, as
was hoped.
However, the unexpectedly high scores on the orthodoxy measure complicates any
conclusions based on this study alone. The mean sample score on the orthodoxy measure
was very high (p = 39.678, with a possible range of 6 - 42) and there was little variance in
participant responses (SD = 3.785). Nearly all of the responses would be considered

88
“orthodox,” with 88.5% of the responses above 35, and 100% of the responses above 25.
Even though the individuals who scored 26 and 28 appeared to be relatively less
orthodox, none of the participants scored 24 or under, which marks the midpoint between
the conservative and liberal ends of the scale. A much larger sample (i.e., with N = 300
or more) has a greater chance of discerning relationships between variables when the
variability of scores is so limited (K. H. Phlegar, personal communication, February 8,
1997). Yet, when a sample of 60 participants drawn from two separate universities
results in a score that is so uniformly conservative, there is reason to question the
applicability of the instrument to the construct in question.
This study was conducted in Charleston, South Carolina, which is a religiously
conservative area. However, the universities chosen for this study draw students from
regions outside of the local area, as do the Air Force and Navy bases located in
Charleston. This influx of diversity, and a historical tolerance of differing beliefs, has
made Charleston relatively less conservative than the majority of South Carolina. The
classes solicited for participation were social science classes: specifically, general
psychology, child development, abnormal psychology, and methods of psychology.
Research supports the fact that social scientist are more religiously liberal than the rest of
the population, rather than more conservative (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Butler, 1990).
Therefore, both of the nature of Charleston and of psychology students indicated that the
resultant sample would contain individuals espousing liberal religious beliefs.
The key to the overrepresentation of highly orthodox scores may be due to the
orthodoxy measure itself. It has been suggested (D. Miller and P. A. D. Sherrard,
personal communication, March 31, 1997) that there may be an important theoretical

89
distinction between an individual’s willingness to accept as true a set of “orthodox” tenets
of Christian faith, and their practical application of religious beliefs in a way that can be
described as a “vigorous preservation of a consecrated practice” which is “faithful to the
original and authentic formulation of a teaching” (Yannaras, 1992, p. 85). In other words,
one could accept the basic beliefs of the Christian faith (e.g., that Jesus was the divine son
of God, and that he arose from the dead) and still approach the living of their faith in a
way that was liberal and non-traditional.
The Short Christian Orthodoxy scale (SCO) was explicitly chosen because of its
psychometric soundness (Hunsberger, 1989) and the fact that the items were
representative of the beliefs of a broad variety of denominations, rather than one in
particular. The items for the SCO were taken directly from the Nicene creed, a set of
Christian beliefs that is subscribed to, at least in some form, by a wide variety of
Christian denominations. It is likely that even liberal Christians, such as Episcopalians,
Presbyterians, and Methodists (Kiecolt & Nelson, 1988; Petersen, 1988), will subscribe to
the tenets of the Nicene creed, and hence score highly orthodox on the SCO. Scores on
the SCO are highly predictive of other religious behaviors (Hunsberger, 1989), but do not
seem to measure or illuminate liberal Christian beliefs as effectively. The only research
cited which discusses low (i.e., less orthodox) scores on the SCO or the Christian
Orthodoxy scale (CO) was research done with apostates, or those who have turned away
from the faith. The apostates can be expected to believe and behave differently than
liberal Christians, and the reliability and validity measures on this sample were markedly
lower than on the more orthodox samples.

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Religious orthodoxy, as measured by the SCO, did not bear a significant
relationship to either construct hierarchy structure connectedness or to openness to
second-order change. As noted, this may be due to the nature of the orthodoxy measure
itself. However, another possible theoretical explanation for this lies in the work of
Batson (1971, 1982), Goldsmith (1986, 1991) and their colleagues. Batson took issue
with Allport and Ross’s original Religious Orientation scale (1967) because it seemed to
neglect the religiously “mature” characteristics of tentativeness and openness to change.
Batson and Vends (1982) saw Allport’s “intrinsics” as inflexible and dogmatic, and
posited a new religious orientation, called “questing,” to describe the experience of
religious individuals who are not averse to change. Goldsmith and his colleagues (1986,
1991) proposed that highly religious, mature Christians are both intrinsic and questing,
meaning that they hold their religious values as central to their existence and that they are
open to questioning them as life demands.
The orthodoxy measure must be reevaluated before further use. However, the
highly orthodox scores demonstrated by this sample may offer support for the reality of
these theoretical categories. This sample can be statistically described as a pool of highly
orthodox individuals who vary on their construct connectedness and their openness to
second-order change. Both Allport’s (1967) “intrinsic” individuals and Goldsmith’s
(1986, 1991) “questing intrinsics” are religiously orthodox, yet they differ on their
attitude toward change (i.e., Batson’s questing dimension). The fact that the entire
sample was highly orthodox and yet varied on connectedness and openness to change
variables could indicate that the sample contained both “intrinsics” and “questing
intrinsics.” Although the instruments used in this study did not explain the variance on

91
this sample, inclusion of a different instrument, such as Batson’s Religious Life Inventory
(1982), might begin to more clearly reveal the source of variance.
The researcher also expected to find a predictable relationship between the degree
of connectedness within an individual’s construct hierarchy structure and their preference
for second-order change (Hypothesis II), between an individual’s degree of religious
orthodoxy and their preference for second-order change (Hypothesis IE), and between
both an individual’s degree of connectedness within their construct hierarchy structure
and their degree of religious orthodoxy, and their preference for second-order change
(Hypothesis IV). Although the research literature gives support for the existence of a
predictable relationship among these variables, this study did not bear that out. None of
the relationships were statistically significant, and the regression models did not allow for
prediction, as was hoped
Limitations
Understanding the limitations to this particular study design is very relevant to
future efforts to explore and predict the relationship between religious beliefs and change.
The following items include possible theoretical and methodological explanations for the
study results:
1. The overrepresentation of orthodox scores on the measure of orthodoxy limits
the ability of this study to explore the variation present in the chosen population. (See
discussion above.)
2. The Change Index is a new research instrument, with this being the first
administration within a research context. Construct validity was established before
administration through the use of a panel of experts, and the tool was piloted to refine the

92
method of administration and to discern ease of participation. However, these procedures
do not guarantee the absence of psychometric problems.
3. The small number of items on the Change Index which specifically address
second-order change opportunities (i.e., ten) limits the instrument’s ability to adequately
explore this variable. There are twenty items overall, but only half of them are directly
related to second-order change, and hence only those were included for data analysis. An
instrument with a larger pool of items specifically targeted at the dimension of second-
order change could increase the instrument’s sensitivity to the variables of concern.
4. The age and stage of life of the chosen population may have had a large impact
on the results of this study. The age and academic level was purposefully defined to limit
the effects of educational level, developmental level, and cohort effect on the outcome of
the study. However, the developmental stage of the participants chosen may have had a
significant impact on the results of the study. Individuals between the age of 18 and 25
are at a very tentative stage of identity and value development (Crain, 1985; Siegler,
1986), especially those in college, where value and identity closure is inhibited through
exposure to new values, theories, and beliefs. Individuals in this stage of development
are potentially less connected and more open to change, regardless of the nature of their
religious beliefs or their degree of orthodoxy.
5. Several instrument packets were not completed correctly and were consequently
not included in the study results. Individuals are known to vary in test taking ability and
tendency toward compliance, and completing the Implications of Change grid is a long,
somewhat complicated process. Instructions were clearly and carefully explained, but the
length and level of complexity may have influenced some test takers’ responses. A

93
participant’s incorrect or incomplete understanding of this instrument could greatly affect
that participant’s overall score.
6. Some participants may have been reluctant to disclose their views about
religion or their own particular values. Religious values are commonly considered to be
private, and often not discussed except among close friends. There may have been some
reluctance, despite confidentiality, to discuss such personal issues. Another complication
would be any tendency to “fake good.” Individuals could be aware of the socially
approved response, and choose that response without regard for their own values. Either
of these common biases could influence the following: a participant’s choice of
constructs or honesty regarding implications, as expressed on the Implications of Change
grid; their honesty regarding their openness to change, as expressed on the Change Index;
or, their honesty regarding their religious beliefs, as expressed on the Short Christian
Orthodoxy scale.
In summary, although the data analysis of participant responses did not support the
hypotheses as measured on this sample, there are theoretical and methodological
explanations for the disparity between predictions and results. These possible
explanations include overrepresentation of orthodox scores on the measure of religious
orthodoxy, the potential psychometric shortcomings of the Change Index, the probable
influence of the developmental stage of undergraduate college students between the ages
of 18 and 25, the abstract nature and complexity of the Implications of Change grid, and
the common tendency to withhold beliefs or “fake good” when addressing cherished
values with an unfamiliar person (i.e., the researcher). These and other issues may have
influenced participant responses and, hence, the results of data analyses.

94
Post Hoc Analyses
The results of the post-hoc analyses seem to indicate that the degree of religious
orthodoxy, as measured by the Short Christian Orthodoxy scale, may increase with age.
If that is true and reflected in different samples of research participants, than varying age
will not serve to increase the range of orthodoxy, as measured by the Short Christian
Orthodoxy scale, in a way that allows for thorough exploration of the variable. Age,
however, may bear a predictable relationship to orthodoxy, and in future research should
consequently be either prevented from influencing targeted variables or included in the
study as a relevant predictor variable.
The most relevant relationship indicated through the post hoc analysis may be the
relationship between orthodoxy and the total score for the religious and political value
items on the Change Index. Although the correlation is not a strong one, there is a clear
negative relationship between orthodoxy and tendency to change with regards to religious
and political values. This relationship is reflected in the model generated by the
regression analysis, as well. This is theoretically sound, and future refinement of the
Change Index should consider the importance of these items. However, the assumptions
of the researcher, based on relevant theory and research, was that this negative
relationship would generalize from religious values to other, seemingly unrelated values
for those with highly connected construct systems. Therefore, the most relevant
relationships would be between orthodoxy and construct connectedness and the second-
order change items that are not religious in nature.

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Implications
Findings such as these indicate a need to revise the chosen methodology and
reevaluate the researcher’s underlying assumptions. However, the fact that religious
beliefs are a valid and timely topic of inquiry within the social sciences is evident.
Although psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals may be less
inclined toward conservative, traditional beliefs (Bergin, 1991; Bergin & Jensen, 1990;
Butler, 1990), and uncomfortable when addressing such beliefs (Butler, 1990), more and
more it will become incumbent upon the psychological experts to be knowledgeable and
conversant regarding the religious beliefs of others (Anderson & Worthen, 1997; Bergin,
1980; Bergin & Jensen, 1990; Butler, 1990; Hall et al., 1994; Sorenson, 1994;
Weaver et al., 1997; Worthington, 1994).
Apparently, marriage and family therapists are, as a group, more inclined toward
traditional beliefs and practices of Christian religion than most counseling professionals
(Jensen & Bergin, 1988; Weaver et al., 1997). This relative comfort and shared
experience regarding religious beliefs can be of utmost value in bridging the historic gap
between psychology and theology. Ross (1993) proposes that marriage and family
therapists may be uniquely positioned to develop linkages with the religious community
because of this shared value. Religious clergy spend a great deal of time counseling
couples and families, and a collaborative relationship between marriage and family
therapists and clergy is an important first step to sharing information between disciplines
and broadening the scope of relevant theory concerning religious beliefs (Weaver et al.,
1997).

96
There also seems to also be a great need for further training regarding religious
issues in secular counselor training programs. A survey of 409 clinical psychologists
revealed that only 5% had gained any religious training in their professional education
(Shafranske & Malony, 1990). Weaver and colleagues (1997) point out that to ignore a
social phenomenon as wide spread as religion and spirituality is to devalue a significant
part of cultural life and ethical experience. It seems imperative to incorporate training
regarding the impact of Christian and other religious values in counselor education, as is
done with other aspects of race and culture.
The implications of this study on further research will depend on refinement of the
methodology to allow for more powerful statistical exploration. Allport’s (1967) original
categories of intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientations, along with Batson and Ventis’s
(1982) later addition of the questing dimension, have influenced many later
conceptualizations of religious experience. The fact that, in this study, a participant’s
degree of religious orthodoxy did not reliably predict their construct hierarchy
connectedness or their openness to second-order change supports the validity of
Goldsmith and Hansen’s (1991) finding: that there exists intrinsically oriented Christians
that are reticent to change, as well as those who are fundamentally open to the prospect of
change (i.e., “questing intrinsics”). Goldsmith and Hansen (1991) found that many of the
highly religious Christians in their sample were both intrinsic and questing. Further
research should explore the differential nature of these orientations through incorporation
of the Religious Life Inventory (Batson & Vends, 1982) into this study’s instrument
packet.

97
Another substantial implication of the findings of this study is the description of a
highly orthodox population in the colleges of the Charleston area. It can not necessarily
be inferred that individuals outside of the colleges are highly orthodox, or that colleges
outside of the Charleston metropolitan area are highly orthodox. However, both of these
are likely, and, if the high degree of orthodoxy was borne out after reevaluation of the
orthodoxy measure, there would be far reaching implications for research, counselor
training, and the practice of counseling in the Charleston area. If a full 88.5% of the
population is highly orthodox, and 100% of the population is at least moderately orthodox
(as was found in this study), the importance of becoming proficient at handling
traditional, orthodox religious beliefs seems imperative. Success in counseling largely
depends on the counselor’s ability to “construe the constructs” of the client (Kelly, 1955),
demanding a knowledge of, and sensitivity to, religious concerns.
One way to further this knowledge and expertise is through the development of
instruments capable of describing and predicting the impact of religious beliefs and
constructs. The Implications of Change grid seems to be a powerful tool for exploring
these and other value-related issues, and professionals support the further use and
development of this personal construct grid as a tool for research and counseling
(Dempsey & Neimeyer, 1995). The Change Index, however, may benefit from further
research regarding its psychometric properties and comparison to other, more established
tools for measuring change. It seems to be worth further exploration, as it is the only
effort thus far at creating an instrument which measures and discerns tendency toward
first- and second-order change (Lyddon, 1992; Lyddon & Alford, 1993). The measure of
orthodoxy must be reconsidered as well, with attention to the practical difference between

98
acceptance of a common creed and a conservative application of beliefs to every day life
issues.
The generalizability of the results of this study should be conducted with caution.
The limitations of this particular study’s design included the following: the exclusive use
of higher level academic institutions from which to draw the sample, the purposefully
limited range of ages included in the sample, and the sole use of volunteers as study
participants.
Exclusive use of colleges and universities from which to draw a research sample
limits participants to those individuals appropriate for belonging to the particular
institution. In this case, that means students who meet the requirements for admission to
undergraduate college studies, but who do not currently meet the requirements for
engaging in postbaccalaureate studies. College level students represent a population
more educated than the average American citizen, and obviously less than those who have
gone on to further study. This intentionally narrows the target population to control for
the influence of educational level on research results. The population was also limited
according to age (18 - 25) in an effort to control the extraneous influences of cohort effect
and differences in responses due to developmental stage. Therefore, generalizability of
the study results to other age groups and education levels can not be done without further
research.
This study relied on volunteers from the colleges and universities for sample
selection. This tends to bias the sample towards those willing to participate in order to
improve academic standing through extra credit points, and limits generalizability to
those unwilling to volunteer.

99
This study was intended to begin the process of describing and exploring the
personal constructs of highly religious Christians and the implications of the constructs
for counseling, and as such focused on limited examples of the variety extant in Christian
religions. These examples can serve to represent several of the many religious cultures,
assuming that certain religious individuals have similar ways of construing and regulating
experience, and that individuals with similar manners of construing tend to choose to
group together (Preston, 1987; Preston & Viney, 1986). It can not be assumed, however,
that every member of the denominations represented will possess univocal religious
beliefs.
Recommendations
The study results and accompanying literature point clearly to a number of
beneficial courses of action:
1. Any further study regarding orthodox religious beliefs, personal constructs, and
attitudes toward change should endeavor to increase the variability of scores on the
measure of orthodoxy. An understanding of the range of orthodoxy found within
Christian religions depends on both an instrument which sensitively measures the targeted
construct and a sample that adequately represents this diverse population. Therefore,
choice of the orthodoxy measure must depend on further exploration of the possible
difference between acceptance of a certain belief and an individual’s method of applying
that belief in praxis. Consideration should also be given to the sample selection, ensuring
adequate variability on the targeted construct.

100
2. If this particular study is replicated, the sample size should be much larger to
increase the ability of the instruments and data analyses to discern differences and
relationships.
3. The number of items contained in the Change Index should be increased so that
the item pool for both first-order and second-order change items will be greater. Beyond
this, further research should be done on the psychometric properties of the instrument, to
include: factor analysis, to discern the validity of the constructs; test-retest and split-half
reliability, to establish consistency of participant responses; and, continued sampling of
diverse groups, to establish relevant norms for specific populations. Any future
modification of the Index should include an increase in the number of second-order
change items and a consideration of the statistical relationship between those items which
address religious and political value changes and an individual’s degree of religious
orthodoxy.
4. Inclusion of the Religious Life Inventory (Batson & Ventis, 1982) would enable
the researcher to explore the influence of Goldsmith’s (1986, 1991) distinction between
an intrinsic religious orientation and a questing/intrinsic orientation. The addition of this
instrument could help to explain the unpredictable relationship between religious
orthodoxy and the variables of construct hierarchy connectedness and openness to
second-order change, and potentially extend psychological theory regarding the
relationship between religious orientation and the process of change.
5. Use of individuals from a different stage of development might influence the
correlations found between independent and dependent variables. One way to explore

101
this relationship further would be to compare responses according to age, with age or
stage of development included as a predictor variable.
6. The directions of the Implications of Change grid must be simplified for greater
ease in administration. This problem could be resolved through individual administration
of the instrument to allow for clarification of abstract principles and procedures.
Individual administration, however, reduces standardization and greatly increases the
length of time required to obtain responses from the research sample.
7. The study participants may be reassured if the administrator emphasizes
confidentiality, thereby reducing the temptation to “fake good” when considering
cherished beliefs and values. Another option to reduce the risk of dishonest responses
would be to administer a social desirability scale to help eliminate those who “fake good”
from the resultant sample.
The clearest recommendation seems to be for increasing research efforts regarding
the impact of religious beliefs on the process of change. Whether the population of
concern is made up almost completely of religiously orthodox Christians or of a balance
between more orthodox and less orthodox Christians, the great need exists to understand
the impact of these beliefs more fully and how the counselor can address them to the
greatest benefit of all.

APPENDIX A
IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGE GRID

APPENDIX A
IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGE GRID
Instructions (read aloud by test administrator)
BEFORE ADMINISTRATION: the administrator should draw a portion of a
Implications of Change grid and several numbered line pairs, like those labeled
“TEN MOST IMPORTANT PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS,” on a chalk
board or dry erase board in plain view of all research participants. These will be
used at a later time to demonstrate test taking procedures.
Please direct your attention to the Implications of Change grid. Do not put your
name on the instrument: all responses are confidential. Select a number of at least four
digits that you will remember, and place it in the top right hand comer of the cover sheet.
This will enable me to give you feedback on your responses in the future, if you request
that.
The Implications of Change grid is divided into three sections. In each of the
sections you will be asked to consider your own personality characteristics and how these
characteristics relate to one another. It is important that you choose characteristics that
are personally significant to you. Each person’s choice of characteristics will be different,
and none should be considered as “right” or “wrong.” The most important consideration
should be their personal value or significance.
103

104
Section I
Turn to the first page, which contains the words “POSITIVE PERSONAL
QUALITIES/OPPOSITES” and lines numbered one through twenty. Think about your
personality characteristics, including moral, social, emotional, ethical, and psychological
dimensions. In the left hand column, list twenty significant characteristics that describe
you: ten positive characteristics (or personal strengths) and ten negative characteristics
(or personal weaknesses). I’ll give you ten minutes to complete this list.
Now that you have completed this list, go back and complete the right hand column
by supplying the word that you consider to be the opposite of the word in the left hand
column. For example, if one of your left hand column characteristics was “intelligent,”
write what you consider to be the opposite of this in the right hand column (for example,
“stupid,” or “uneducated,” or “slow”). Try to choose a word that describes what you
would be if you were the opposite of how you are now, rather than trying to choose the
best dictionary opposite. I’ll give you five minutes to complete this column.
Section II
Using the list that you have generated, choose the ten most important or significant
characteristics. These characteristics can be either positive or negative, but should be the
ones that best describe your personality. When you have selected the ten most important
characteristics, copy them on the list on the following page. The word in the left column
should describe the way you are now, and the word in the right column will be its
opposite. I’ll give you five minutes to choose and copy the word pairs.

105
(When the five minutes is over, the researcher should fill in the list of “TEN
MOST IMPORTANT PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS” with three word pairs,
as follows:
1.
responsible
/
irresponsible
2.
kind
/
cruel
3.
patient
/
impatient
These word pairs, only placed on the board after the participants have chosen
their own, will serve as examples for demonstration.)
Section III
Now, you should have a list of your ten most important characteristics and their
opposites. (Hold up blank sample instrument and point to the correct section.) I’m
going to both describe and demonstrate how to complete the numbered grid below.
Look at the list you have generated of your ten most important personal
characteristics. Consider characteristic #1 and its opposite. If you were to change the
way you are now from one of those characteristics to its opposite, how would it affect
your standing on the other nine pairs of characteristics? In other words, if you were to
wake up tomorrow morning and find that you are best described by a characteristic that is
the opposite of how you are today, would that necessarily mean you would also change
with regard to characteristic #2? Or characteristic #3? And, so forth.
In the grid provided, indicate the effects of these imagined changes by either a “+”
(plus sign) or a (minus sign). (Administrator should demonstrate this portion using
the word pairs on the board and fill in pluses and minuses as they demonstrate.) Start in
the first row under number two (#2). If a change from your present state to its opposite
would also require you to change on characteristic pair #2, place a plus sign in the box. If

106
such a change would have no effect on pair #2, place a minus sign in the box. Proceed
this way from left to right until you have considered all of the other pairs.
Then begin with word pair #2 in the next row, starting in the box under #1. Would
a change on characteristic #2 require a change on characteristic #1? Characteristic #3?
Characteristic #4? And, so forth. Complete the grid in this way by comparing all of the
pairs and indicating which would influence others by placing plus signs in the appropriate
boxes.
When you have completed the grid, you may go on to the other instruments. These
instruments have directions included, and are self-explanatory. Feel free to ask questions
if anything is unclear. You may bring the instrument packet to me when its complete.
(This last paragraph is only to be used when administering the Implications of
Change grid with the other instruments used in this study. Otherwise, instructions
would end with the prior paragraph, or go on to specify directions for the
participants to follow after completion of the instrument.)

107
Positive Persona! Qualities / Opposites
1. /.
2. /_
3. /
4. /
5. /
6. /
7. /
8. /
9. /
10. /
Negative Persona! Qualities / Opposites
11. /
12. /
13. /
14. /
15. /
16. /
17. /
18. /
19. /
/
20.

108
Ten Most Important Persona! Characteristics
1. â–¡ /
2. â–¡ /
3. â–¡ /
4. â–¡ /
5. â–¡ /
6. â–¡ /
7. â–¡ /
8. â–¡ /
9. â–¡ /
10. â–¡ /
123456789 10

APPENDIX B
SHORT CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY SCALE

APPENDIX B
SHORT CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY SCALE
The Short Christian Orthodoxy (SCO) Scale1
This survey includes a number of statements related to specific religious beliefs. You will probably
find that you agree with some of the statements, and disagree with others, to varying extets. Please mark
your opinion on the line to the left of each statement according to the amount of agreement or disagreement
by using the following scale:
In the space provided, write down a:
(-)3 if you strongly disagree with the statement
(-)2 if you moderately disagree with the statement
(-)l if you slightly disagree with the statement
(+)/ if you slightly agree with the statement
(+)2 if you moderately agree with the statement
(+)3 if you strongly agree with the statement
If you feel exactly and precisely neutral about an item, write down a “0” in the space provided.
1. Jesus Christ was the divine Son of God.
2* The Bible may be an important book of moral teachings, but it was no more
inspired by God than were many other such books in human history.
3.* The concept of God is an old superstition this is no longer needed to explain
things in the modem era.
4. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God provided a way for the
forgiveness of people’s sins.
5.* Despite what many people believe, there is no such thing as a God who is aware
of our actions.
6. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried but on the third day He arose from the
dead.
Note: No response is scored as “0” on the (-J to +i) response scale for each item. It is suggested that a paticipant’s data be
discarded if they do not answer four or more items. Data can easily be prepared for analysis by rescaling responses such that -3 = 1;-
2 = 2; -1 = 3; 0 (or no response) = 4; +1 = 5; +2 = 6; and +3 = 7. The keying of all negatively worded items—indicated above by an
asterisk (*)—is reversed so that for all items a low score indicates an unorthodox belief an a high score indicates an orthodox belief.
The SCO score is then computed for each participant by summing over the six items. Finally, it is recommended that one or two
“buffer items” be inserted before the first item above, so that the participants will feel comfortable with both the content of the survey
and its format before completing the SCO scale. It is suggested that these items be two of the original CO scale items not included in
the SCO scale, such as “God exists as: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” and “Those who feel that God answers prayers are just deceiving
themselves” (a reversed item).
The SCO Scale is taken from Hunsberger, 1989. The Scale is printed as Table 1 in his paper.
110

APPENDIX C
CHANGE INDEX

APPENDIX C
CHANGE INDEX
The following list contains some examples of ways people change. The list is
intended to be broad and varied, in order to include both simple and very complex life
changes. As you read the list, think about your own life, and ask yourself two questions:
1) is this an area of your life that you would consider changing, and 2) if you did choose
to change, how significant would that particular change be?
In each of the following questions, first answer whether or not the example of
change is one you would consider or not. A “Yes” answer indicates that you probably
would consider changing; a “No” answer indicates that you probably would not consider
changing.
Next, if your response is “No,” simply go on to the next item. If your response is
“Yes,” place a check in the next row of boxes to indicate how significant that change
would be. The options are: “Insignificant,” “Moderately Significant,” or “Very
Significant.”
112

113
If the situation presented itself, would you consider making the following change?
1. Acquiring new, but similar job duties at your place of employment.
â–¡ Yes â–¡ No
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
2. Changing some central characteristic of your personality (for example, â–¡ Yes EH No
changing from practical to imaginative, or "happy-go-lucky" to serious-minded).
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
3. Including new individuals in your current group of friends.
â–¡ Yes DNo
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
4. Making an effort to do more of the activities that you currently enjoy (for EH Yes EH No
example, hobbies and sports).
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
5. Changing your religious denomination.
â–¡ Yes QNo
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
6. Acquiring a new skill (for example, automobile engine repair or public EH Yes EH No
speaking).
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
7. Changing how emotionally expressive you are with individuals who are EH Yes EH No
important to you (that is, noticeably more or less expressive).
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
8. Changing your political party or your political beliefs.
â–¡ Yes QNo
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
9. Finding a new, but similar job or major in the same field.
â–¡ Yes QNo
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡

114
10. Moving to an unfamiliar, non-English speaking country for an extended CD Yes CD No
period (living as a “native,” not with those from your own culture).
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
11. Learning more about your chosen religious denomination or religious CD Yes CD No
beliefs.
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
12. Becoming the opposite of how you are now (for example, becoming more â–¡ Yes â–¡ No
group-oriented or independent).
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
13. Changing what you believe about God (not simply "growing" in your faith). â–¡ Yes DNo
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
14. Working toward improvements within your chosen political party or political â–¡ Yes â–¡ No
beliefs.
Insignificant
â–¡
Moderately Significant
â–¡
Very Significant
â–¡
15. Practicing a new hobby or sport.
â–¡ Yes â–¡ No
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
16. Beginning to attend a different congregation within your chosen
denomination.
â–¡ Yes â–¡ No
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
17. Changing the type of people you choose to be your closest friends.
â–¡ Yes QNo
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
18. Changing your habits (for example, exercise, eating, sleeping, etc.).
â–¡ Yes QNo
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
IZ

115
â–¡ Yes â–¡ No
19. Learning more about your chosen major or field of study.
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡
20. Changing how openly you communicate with your family (that is,
â–¡ Yes DNo
communicatina much more or much less).
Insignificant
Moderately Significant
Very Significant
â–¡
â–¡
â–¡

APPENDIX D
DEMOGRAPHICS QUESTIONAIRE

APPENDIX D
DEMOGRAPHICS QUESTIONAIRE
Please answer the following questions by filling in the blank or checking the box that
most applies to you. If none of the options adequately describes you, check the box
labeled “Other” and indicate a more appropriate description.
1. Major:
2. Grade Level: â–¡ Freshman (0 - 30 semester credit hours)
â–¡ Sophomore (31 - 60 semester credit hours)
â–¡ Junior (61 - 90 semester credit hours)
â–¡ Senior (undergraduate with 91 or more semester credit hours)
â–¡ Post Graduate
3. Age:
4. Marital Status: â–¡ Married â–¡ Divorced â–¡ Single â–¡ Widowed
â–¡ Other
5. Gender: â–¡ Female â–¡ Male
6. Race: â–¡ African American â–¡ Caucasian â–¡ Asian â–¡ Other
7. Religious Identification: â–¡ Christian â–¡ Non-Christian
â–¡ Other
8. Christian Religious Denomination:
â–¡ Baptist â–¡ Episcopal
â–¡ Catholic â–¡ African Methodist Episcopal
â–¡ Methodist â–¡ Unitarian
â–¡ Presbyterian â–¡ Assembly of God
â–¡ Other
9. Have you ever participated in counseling? â–¡ Yes â–¡ No
If yes, check the box that best describes the counselor:
â–¡ Christian or Pastoral Counselor
â–¡ Secular Counselor (a counselor not specifically working in a Christian setting)
â–¡ no counselor (for example, a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous)
â–¡ Other
117

APPENDIX E
APPROVAL OF HUMAN SUBJECTS COMMITTEE

APPENDIX E:
APPROVAL OF HUMAN SUBJECTS COMMITTEE
UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
Institutional Review Board
114 Psychology Bldg.
PO Box 112250
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250
September 9,
1996
Fax:
TO:
Ms. Laurel Sandberg Semmes
997 Johnny Dodds Blvd, #911 N
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 , \
FROM:
C. Michael Levy, Chair, \V\wv
University of Florida Institutional
Review Board \ \
SUBJECT:
Approval of Project # 96.391
Religious beliefs and the implications of change
Funding: Unfunded
I am pleased to advise you that the University of Florida Institutional
Review Board has recommended the approval of this project. The Board
concluded that participants will not be placed at more than minimal risk in
this research. Given your protocol it is essential that you obtain signed
documentation of informed consent from each participant. Enclosed is the
dated, IRB-approved informed consent to be used when recruiting participants
for this research.
If you wish to make any changes in this protocol, you must disclose your
plans before you implement them so that the Board can assess their impact
on your project. In addition, you must report to the Board any unexpected
complications arising from the project which affect your participants.
If you have not completed this project by September 9, 1997, please telephone
our office (392-0433) and we will tell you how to obtain a renewal.
It is important that you keep your Department Chair informed about the status
of this research.
CML/h2
cc: Vice President for Research
Dr. Ellen Amatea
119

APPENDIX F
INFORMED CONSENT

APPENDIX F:
INFORMED CONSENT
INFORMED CONSENT FORM
I am interested in studying the relationship between values and individual
preferences regarding categories of change. Specifically, I would ask that you devote
approximately an hour of your time scheduled to conveniently coordinate with other
students at your college or university. During this time you will be asked to complete four
questionnaires, two of them regarding values, one regarding types of change, and one
that will ask demographic questions, such as age, race, and marital status.
The research project will explore ways for counselors to be helpful to individuals
who have different value systems. Because this project should be personally meaningful
to you as well, I am willing to give you feedback about your own participation after the
study is completed. Your professor has agreed to award extra credit equal to two percent
of your final grade as compensation for your participation.
There are no foreseeable risks to participation. All information will be kept
confidential to the extent provided by law. Participation is voluntary and you may end
your participation in the study at any time without penalty or prejudice. Please feel free to
ask any questions that you have. I may be contacted in the future through the University
of Florida Department of Education (352-392-0731).
Questions or concerns about participants' rights may be directed to the University
of Florida Institutional Review Board office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville,
Florida 32611-2250, (352-392-0433).
I have read the procedure described above. I agree to participate in the
procedure and have received a copy of this description.
LAUREL SANDBERG SEMMES, EDS
GRADUATE STUDENT, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
DATE
ELLEN AMATEA, Ph D
SUPERVISOR
Approved by the
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board
(IRB 02) for use through
121

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Laurel Sandberg Semmes was bom on June 14, 1963, in Fort Collins, Colorado.
She graduated from Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1981. She graduated
with honors from the University of Florida in 1987 with a baccalaureate degree in fine
arts, specializing in Drawing.
She was admitted to Graduate School at the University of Florida in the Department
of Counselor Education in the fall of 1988. She completed masters and specialist degrees
in agency, correctional, and developmental counseling in December of 1990, graduating
with a GPA of 3.94. Admitted to the doctoral program in the Counselor Education
Department in January of 1991, she plans to complete the Doctor of Philosophy degree in
May of 1997.
Laurel’s specialty within agency, correctional, and developmental counseling has
been marriage and family counseling for her masters, specialist and doctoral degrees. At
various times during the span of her education, she has maintained a private counseling
practice; served as an administrator for a private, nonprofit social service agency; and
taught undergraduate psychology as an adjunct professor at Charleston Southern
University. After receiving the Doctor of Philosophy degree, she plans to continue both
marriage and family counseling and teaching at the college level.
132

I certify that I have read this study and that in nn opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. ,
Ellen S. Amatea, Chair
Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully addqiiate, bioscope and quality, aft a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
)A^oa/a
Peter A. D. Sherrard
Associate Professor of Counselor
Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
eph P. Wittmer
istinguished Service Professor
of Counselor Education
1 certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
David Miller
Professor of Foundations of Education
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Education
and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May 1997
M
Dean, College of Education
Dean, Graduate School