Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 221–231

The Unseen Cost: A Discussion of the Secondary Traumatization Experience of the Clergy


DOI: 10.1007/s11089-011-0378-z

Cite this article as:
Hendron, J.A., Irving, P. & Taylor, B. Pastoral Psychol (2012) 61: 221. doi:10.1007/s11089-011-0378-z


The vocation of clergy life can be a hazardous journey. Stress and burnout are issues, which are increasingly reported by clerics. Burnout is defined by a constellation of work related symptoms (Doolittle, Mental Health, Religion & Culture,10(1), 31–38, 2007), with emotional exhaustion recognised as a core component. Despite this recognition the research has not focused on factors which lead to this state of emotional exhaustion in particular secondary traumatization. The purpose of this article is threefold. Firstly, it presents the theoretical framework of secondary trauma. Secondly it reviews the literature aligning clergy and trauma work and thirdly it discuses the emotional and physical toll upon clergy from this aspect of their role.


Clergy Secondary trauma Burnout Compassion fatigue Psychological health 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill Anne Hendron
    • 1
  • Pauline Irving
    • 1
  • Brian Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.School of CommunicationUniversity of UlsterNewtownabbey, Co. AntrimUK