The Glory of God is a Human Being Fully Alive: Predictors of Positive Versus Negative Mental Health Among Clergy
Clergy fulfill vital societal functions as meaning makers and community builders. Partly because of their important roles, clergy frequently encounter stressful situations. Further, studies suggest that clergy experience high rates of depression. Despite this, few studies have examined protective factors for clergy that may increase their positive mental health. We invited all United Methodist clergy in North Carolina to participate in a survey. Of church-serving clergy, 85 percent responded (n = 1,476). Hierarchical multiple regression was used to assess the predictors of three positive and four negative mental health outcomes. The three sets of predictors were: demographics, which explained 2-10 percent of the variances; variables typically related to mental health (social support, social isolation, and financial stress), which explained 14-41 percent of the variances; and clergy-specific variables, which explained 14-20 percent of the variances, indicating the importance of measuring occupation-specific variables. Some variables (e.g., congregation demands) significantly related to both positive and negative mental health, whereas others (e.g., positive congregations, congregation support) significantly related primarily to positive mental health. In addition to their intervention implications, these findings support separate consideration for negative versus positive mental health.
Proeschold-Bell, RJ; Eisenberg, A; Adams, C; Smith, B; Legrand, S; Wilk, A
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