April 1, 2005: Headlines: Recruitment: Psychology: Motiviation: Journal of Psychology and Theology: Mischel (1965) found that successful Peace Corp Volunteers typically have less psychopathology and more ego strength, as measured by the MMPI, than their less successful counterparts. However, none of the subsequent Peace Corps studies (e.g., Dicken, 1969; Harris, 1973; Smith, 1966) were able to replicate his findings.

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Psychology: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Psychology, Pschological Testing, Pschological Warfare : April 1, 2005: Headlines: Recruitment: Psychology: Motiviation: Journal of Psychology and Theology: Mischel (1965) found that successful Peace Corp Volunteers typically have less psychopathology and more ego strength, as measured by the MMPI, than their less successful counterparts. However, none of the subsequent Peace Corps studies (e.g., Dicken, 1969; Harris, 1973; Smith, 1966) were able to replicate his findings.

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Mischel (1965) found that successful Peace Corp Volunteers typically have less psychopathology and more ego strength, as measured by the MMPI, than their less successful counterparts. However, none of the subsequent Peace Corps studies (e.g., Dicken, 1969; Harris, 1973; Smith, 1966) were able to replicate his findings.

Mischel (1965) found that successful Peace Corp Volunteers typically have less psychopathology and more ego strength, as measured by the MMPI, than their less successful counterparts. However, none of the subsequent Peace Corps studies (e.g., Dicken, 1969; Harris, 1973; Smith, 1966) were able to replicate his findings.

Mischel (1965) found that successful Peace Corp Volunteers typically have less psychopathology and more ego strength, as measured by the MMPI, than their less successful counterparts. However, none of the subsequent Peace Corps studies (e.g., Dicken, 1969; Harris, 1973; Smith, 1966) were able to replicate his findings.

PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SPIRITUAL PREDICTORS OF DOMAINS OF FUNCTIONING AND EFFECTIVENESS OF SHORT-TERM MISSIONARIES

Apr 1, 2005

Journal of Psychology and Theology

[Excerpt]

The present study investigated how psychopathology, current object relations, and spiritual development relate to short-term missionary performance and psychological distress. Forty short-term missionaries completed questionnaires measuring psychopathology, object relations, and spirituality before going overseas. Participants and their supervisors completed questionnaires assessing performance and psychological distress before returning home. Principle components analyses revealed three self-report performance factors and four supervisor-report performance factors. Zero-order correlations showed that having greater psychological symptomatology, greater conflict with authority, more social alienation, less satisfying relationships with peers, overly dependent relationships, and greater disappointment and instability in relationship with God were related to less effective performance.

Partial correlations also showed that having greater psychological symptomatology was related to increased psychological distress. It was concluded that shortterm missionaries' levels of psychopathology, object relations development, and spiritual development influence their effectiveness and psychological adjustment on the mission field.

Over the last two decades, short-term mission trips have become very prevalent in America (Pocock, 1987). Short-term missionaries provide needed services on the mission field, such as construction work, evangelism, and helping the poor. Participants in such trips tend to return home with a great enthusiasm for missions, which encourages more missions involvement in their churches and schools.

While the benefits of short-term mission trips can be great, the effects from these trips may not be uniformly positive. Many people develop physical and emotional problems overseas, which require them to return home earlier than expected or render them ineffective in their work (Lindquist, 1983). A large recent study on missionary attrition found that " 1 career missionary in 20 (5.1% of the mission force) leaves the mission field to return home every year [italics in the original]" (Taylor, 1997), and that 71% leave for preventable reasons. No statistics are currently available on short- term workers.

Mission agencies are concerned about the quality of short-term mission trips because a large amount of money and resources are spent on these trips (Adeney, 1996).

Evaluating and then selecting short-term missionary candidates based on their personality characteristics could hold promise for improving the quality of the short-term workers and the quality of their mission experience. Mental health care workers involved in missionary screening and selection procedures state that many missionary problems, which often lead to attrition or poor performance, could be prevented if pre-field psychological testing was administered and if mental health care providers' recommendations, based on this testing, were followed by mission agencies (Ferguson, 1983; Lindquist, 1983; Schubert, 1992,1993,1999).

The overriding goal of the screening and selection process is to choose missionaries who show potential for being effective, well- adjusted overseas workers. To achieve this goal, personnel directors need to have methods to distinguish candidates who have the necessary internal resources to cope with the mission field's stressors from candidates who do not have these necessary internal resources. Several different psychological tests have been used to screen and select missionary candidates, but the most common instruments used are the 16 Personality Factors (16PF; Ferguson, Kliewer, Lindquist, Williams, &C Heinrich, 1983), and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPl; Schubert, 1999).

The benefit of using testing is that it is useful in finding symptoms of underlying problems in candidates, which can have detrimental effects on the mission field (Lindquist, 1983). However, their use in missionary selection procedures is somewhat problematic because the instruments commonly used were developed to address clinical questions, not to address fitness for missionary service or crosscultural adaptability (Hall & Sweatman, 2002).

Several studies have been performed to investigate the effectiveness of the MMPI and the 16PF in predicting the attrition and performance of missionaries. Overall, successful missionaries tend to be relatively psychologically healthy (Boyle, 1994; Thayer, 1973). Although they commonly admit to having some emotional problems, including anxiety and psychosomatic illnesses, they tend to be less defensive and have a greater ability to regulate their emotions (Britt, 1980; Dillon, 1983; Lawson, 1993). In addition, they are more likely to value interpersonal relationships and have a greater capacity to respect authority and social standards (Howard, 1984; Kyne, 1992).

Non-persevering (i.e., missionaries who did not remain on the mission field for their entire term) and less successful missionaries tend to exhibit more psychopathology on the MMPI before they are assigned to the mission field (Schubert & Gantner, 1996). A history of mood disorders (Britt, 1980; Thayer, 1973) and family problems (Britt, 1980; Greek, 1984) are also common characteristics of less successful missionaries.

Business firms, development agencies, and government agencies are as concerned about effectively screening and selecting cross- cultural sojourners as mission agencies. A few studies have investigated the relationship between personality traits and the performance and cross-cultural adjustment of business expatriates and development workers. For example, Mischel (1965) found that successful Peace Corp Volunteers typically have less psychopathology and more ego strength, as measured by the MMPI, than their less successful counterparts. However, none of the subsequent Peace Corps studies (e.g., Dicken, 1969; Harris, 1973; Smith, 1966) were able to replicate his findings.

Instead, they found that effective performance is more strongly related to general personality traits, such as perseverance, patience, and having a strong self- definition, and the ability to form good interpersonal relationships. Additional research on international assignees has found that cross-cultural adjustment is best predicted by the quality of their relationships with home and host nationals, characteristics of their job, and the adjustment of their spouse (Black & Gregersen, 1991). The biggest contributors to overseas success of international assignees are strong interpersonal skills, social interests, a stable family situation, and solid job knowledge (Arthur & Bennett, 1995; Kealey, 1989).

Although the mission-related research has found inconsistent results, it also indicates that objective personality tests (e.g., MMPI-2 and 16PF) may be useful in screening for some of the predictors of missionary performance and attrition. For example, the MMPI-2 may be helpful in preventing individuals with serious psychopathology from going overseas. Still, the MMPI-2 does not appear to be measuring all the variables that predict missionary adjustment and success. One problem associated with using the MMPI- 2 for missionary selection is that some missionary candidates exhibit few, if any, symptoms of psychopathology in the pre-field screening, but then develop significant psychological problems overseas due to the stresses of living on the mission field or an undiagnosed personality disorder.

Secular agencies have moved away from using objective personality instruments, such as the MMPI2, because the Peace Corps studies generally did not find significant correlations between objective personality tests and job success. secular research has demonstrated that self-report measures that assess general personality factors and relational skills, instead of psychopathology, show promise in predicting cross-cultural adjustment and effective job performance. Psychopathology, general personality traits, and relational skills may all be useful predictors. Still, the sojourner literature is highly lacking in theory-driven research that is able to explain how these factors predict adjustment and effectiveness overseas (Kealey, 1989).

Conducting theory-driven research is particularly important because confirmatory studies that assess how personality measures predict job performance have considerably higher mean validities than exploratory studies (Tett, Jackson, & Rothstein, 1991).

Object relations theory may provide a theoretical framework for explaining how psychopathology, personality traits, and relational factors predict adjustment and effectiveness overseas. This theory states that the manner in which people relate to others, and how they respond and adapt to their environment is affected by their early relationships with their primary caretakers (Horner, 1991). The development of differentiated internal objects (i.e., mental representations of self and other in relationship) affects the quality of one's external relationships. Also, the development of ego functions, which include reality testing, thought processes, emotional regulation, and defensive functioning, is based within the structure of a person's object relations.

There appear to be some important empirical indicators th\at object relations development influences missionary performance and adjustment. Britt (1980) found that successful missionaries have good interpersonal relationships, have a stable mood, and are able to regulate their affect, which are all related to levels of object relations. In addition, York (1993) found that missionary attrition is more likely to occur when missionaries had a parent absent during childhood and/or had an impaired relationship with their father during childhood, which would theoretically have a negative influence on the development of object relations.

Furthermore, missionaries' current object relations, reality testing, regulation and control of drives, thought processes, and defense mechanisms are significantly related to their psychological and sociocultural adjustment (Hall, 1996).

Measuring spiritual development from an object relations perspective may also be useful in predicting the effectiveness and adjustment of missionaries. Missionary selection procedures that include the assessment of missionary candidates' spiritual development seem appropriate, given that (a) possessing spiritual maturity is a necessary job characteristic for missionaries due to the spiritually representative nature of the missionary role; and (b) utilizing spiritual resources may help them cope with an overseas adjustment due to their strong religious commitment. Hall and Edwards (1996) developed a model of spiritual development that is based on two primary dimensions: (a) the quality of one's relationship with God based on the object relations theory; and (b) awareness of God.

From this perspective, one's psychological development strongly influences one's spiritual development. In fact, empirical findings suggest that a strong relationship exists between spiritual development and object relations maturity (Hall & Brokaw, 1995; Hall, Brokaw, Edwards, & Pike, 1998). Spiritual development is also positively related to both psychological functioning and crosscultural adjustment in missionaries (Hall, Edwards, & Hall, 2004).

The current study is attempting to replicate past findings using the MMPI-2 and to provide support for the use of object relations theory and spiritual development in missionary selection procedures. The hypotheses for this study were as follows: (a) psychopathology as measured by the MMPI-2 scales L, 2, 7, Pd4, and FAM would relate negatively to missionary performance and positively to psychological distress, whereas the MMPI-2 scales F, K, 1, 3, 4, and Si3 would relate positively to missionary performance and negatively to psychological distress; (b) current object relations as measured by the Attachment and Object Relations Inventory (AORI) would relate positively to missionary performance and negatively to psychological distress; and (c) spiritual development as measured by the Spiritual Assessment Inventory (SAI) Awareness and Realistic Acceptance subscales would relate positively to missionary performance and negatively to psychological distress, whereas the Instability, Grandiosity, Disappointment, and Lie subscales would relate negatively to missionary performance and positively to psychological distress.





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Story Source: Journal of Psychology and Theology

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