Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Major Professor

Karl J. Jost

Committee Members

Clinton B. Allison, David L. Dungan, Robert Howard, W. Lee Humphreys, & Anand Malik


The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences in religious conflict and anxiety among religiously fundamentalist students enrolled in three institutions in East Tennessee. It was felt that such an inquiry would provide insight into the difficulties encountered by the religiously fundamentalist student as that person moves and functions in higher education.

The subjects were 301 freshman students. The study was accomplished in two phases. Phase one involved meeting with freshman English classes at two of the institutions and introductory Sociology classes at the other institution and asking the students to provide certain biographical information as well as mark their answers on four brief tests designed to measure socio-economic status, religious fundamentalism, anxiety, and religious conflict. Phase two of the study consisted of 30 interviews, 10 students from each of the 3 schools. Interviewees were chosen on the basis of scores earned on the tests. Statistical techniques used were correlation and analysis of variance.

The general findings of the study were as follows:

1. Twenty percent of all students reported strong religious conflict and anxiety accompanied by such difficulties as inability to sleep, eat or study; severe stomach pains; mental anguish; inability to concentrate; and daydreaming. The classroom was found to be a main source of religious conflict.

2. The variables religious fundamentalism and anxiety were not correlated at either of the three institutions.

3. The variables religious fundamentalism and religious conflict were negatively correlated at each of the three institutions.

4. Religious conflict was positively correlated with anxiety at the three institutions.

5. There were considerable differences among the three schools with respect to religious fundamentalism and religious conflict though not anxiety.

6. Religious fundamentalism, religious conflict, and anxiety were related positively or negatively to one or more of the following personal data variables depending upon whether institutional scores or total scores were used: consent to be interviewed, religious preference, denominational preference, sex, state of residence, size of community of residence, socio-economic status, attendance at church and Sunday School, or grade point average. The major variables were not related to age or approximate size of home church.

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