Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 700–720 | Cite as

A Theoretical Model of the Holistic Health of United Methodist Clergy

  • Rae Jean Proeschold-BellEmail author
  • Sara LeGrand
  • John James
  • Amanda Wallace
  • Christopher Adams
  • David Toole
Original Paper


Culturally competent health interventions require an understanding of the population’s beliefs and the pressures they experience. Research to date on the health-related beliefs and experiences of clergy lacks a comprehensive data-driven model of clergy health. Eleven focus groups with 59 United Methodist Church (UMC) pastors and 29 UMC District Superintendents were conducted in 2008. Participants discussed their conceptualization of health and barriers to, and facilitators of, health promotion. Audiotape transcriptions were coded by two people each and analyzed using grounded theory methodology. A model of health for UMC clergy is proposed that categorizes 42 moderators of health into each of five levels drawn from the Socioecological Framework: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Congregational, United Methodist Institutional, and Civic Community. Clergy health is mediated by stress and self-care and coping practices. Implications for future research and clergy health interventions are discussed.


Clergy Health United Methodist Theory Socioecological framework 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the insightful comments of Mark Chaves, Ph.D., The Reverend H. Edgar Moore, Ph.D., The Reverend Charles M. Smith, D.D., The Reverend W. Joseph Mann, M.Div., S.T.M., The Reverend Robert R. Webb, III, M.Div., The Reverend Susan Pendleton Jones, The Reverend L. Gregory Jones, Ph.D., M.Div., and Rachel Blouin, M.P.H. This study was funded by a grant from the Rural Church Division of The Duke Endowment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Sara LeGrand
    • 1
  • John James
    • 2
  • Amanda Wallace
    • 2
  • Christopher Adams
    • 3
  • David Toole
    • 2
  1. 1.Duke University Center for Health PolicyDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Duke University Divinity SchoolDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Office of the Campus Pastors Division of Student Life and Graduate Department of PsychologyAzusa Pacific UniversityAzusaUSA
  4. 4.Duke Health Inequalities Program, Research and Evaluation SectorDuke University Center for Health PolicyDurhamUSA

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