Five-factor personality traits in priests

Antonio Cerasa, Giuditta Lombardo, Doriana Tripodi, Elisabetta Stilisano, Alessia Sarica, Vera Gramigna, Iolanda Martino, Anna Pullera, Silvia Tigani, Ylenia De Carlo, Maddalena Idone, Anna Scaglione, Elena Ziarelli, Roberta Vasta, Giulia Donzuso, Maria Rizzo, Don Luigi Zucaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies have demonstrated that religiosity is associated with specific personality traits, such as high Agreeableness/Conscientiousness or low Psychoticism. However, this evidence emerged by investigating active churchgoers with high religious practice or clerical individuals using Eysenck's taxonomy. This study explores, for the first time, personality profiles in Priests ordained by the Roman Catholic Church (N = 200) using the Five-Factor Model of personality in an Italian population. Priests were compared with demographically matched non-clerical with high religious practices (HRP, N = 301) and non-religious men (NR, N = 213).Analysis of variance demonstrated that both Priests and HPR men shared similar personality traits, such as higher Agreeableness, lower Extraversion-excitement seeking and Openness, with respect to NR. However, Priests have distinct traits, such as the highest values of Agreeableness and the lowest Neuroticism sub-facets of angry hostility and impulsiveness, in comparison with other groups. Finally, although high Conscientiousness characterized both the Priest and HRP groups, surprisingly, we found that this psychological trait was only more evident in the latter group. Differences in religious order would seem to influence this trait.This study demonstrates that Priests' personality differ from those of HRP men, although some important personality (sub-) facets are similar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Five-Factor Model
  • High religious practices
  • NEO-PI-R
  • Non-religious
  • Personality
  • Priests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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