Clergy work-related psychological health : listening to the Ministers of Word and Sacrament within the United Reformed Church in England

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Charlton, Rodger ; Rolph, Jenny ; Francis, Leslie J. ; Rolph, P. (Paul) ; Robbins, Mandy (2009)

Drawing on the classic model of balanced affect proposed by Bradburn (The structure of psychological well-being, Aldine, Chicago, IL, 1969), this study conceptualised poor work-related psychological health in terms of high levels of negative affect in the absence of acceptable levels of positive affect. In order to illuminate self-perceptions of work-related psychological health among a well-defined group of clergy, a random sample of 58 ministers of word and sacrament serving within the west midlands synod of the United Reformed Church in England completed an open-ended questionnaire concerned with the following six guiding questions. Do you enjoy your work? How would you define stress? How would you define burnout? What stresses are there in your ministry? What do you do to keep healthy? What can the church do to enhance the work-related psychological health of ministers? Content analysis highlighted the main themes recurring through these open-ended responses. The conclusion is drawn that ministers of word and sacrament within the United Reformed Church in England are exposed to a number of recurrent recognisable sources of stress. Suggestions are advanced regarding the need for future more detailed research and for the development of more effective pastoral strategies.
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