Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Health Services and Policy Management

First Advisor

Janice Probst


The role of clergy, much like other professionals, has been evolving over the past several decades. The personal demands and increasing complexity of ordained ministry have expanded alongside other professionals; while at the same time, the public respect for the profession has declined. In addition, the overwhelming majority of ordained ministers serve medium-sized or smaller congregations, which are not equipped to provide a standard of living that keeps pace with current inflation rates. The result is often inadequate salaries, lack of healthcare benefits, and unrealistic working conditions.

In exploration of the extent to which these resulting trends have affected clerical health status, this study uses secondary data collected from the Pulpit and Pew Clergy Leadership Survey of 2001. Managed by the National Opinion Research Center and conducted via telephone interviews, the survey sampled 883 sole or senior pastors from 80 denominations at gather information about their work and family life and their health status. Utilizing simple and multiple regressions, the research explores the relationship between health status and stress. Older, African-American, and obese clergy all exhibited lower levels of physical health as stress increased. Clergy with children and those with higher levels of education exhibited lower levels of emotional health as stress increased. African-American clergy consistently exhibited higher levels of emotional health than their White colleagues did.


© 2010, Carl Randolph Wells