Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 1956–1970 | Cite as

Reduced Sense of Coherence Due to Neuroticism: Are Transcendent Beliefs Protective Among Catholic Pastoral Workers?

  • Philipp KerksieckEmail author
  • Arndt Büssing
  • Eckhard Frick
  • Christoph Jacobs
  • Klaus Baumann
Original Paper


In this study, we examined a third variable effect on the relationship of personality traits, especially neuroticism and the salutogenetic concept sense of coherence. Specifically, we were interested in the moderating role of religious trust (RT) and transcendence perception operationalized as daily spiritual experiences (DSE) on the aforementioned relationship among religious individuals. We applied a cross-sectional study among a sample of 8594 pastoral workers using standardized questionnaires. Multiple regression and moderator analysis displayed the relationships between big five personality variables and sense of coherence. Neuroticism was identified as a negative predictor to sense of coherence, indicating impairment on this psychological resource. RT and DSE appear to function as moderators that buffer the negative effects of neuroticism on sense of coherence among religious persons. This is an interesting finding because people with expressions of neurotic personality tendencies often struggle to find helpful methods of coping and may find a helpful resource in the concepts studied here.


Neuroticism Sense of coherence Religious trust Daily spiritual experiences German pastoral ministry study 



This study was an investigator-initiated trial without any influence of Church authorities. All authors are members of the respective universities; three of the authors are Catholic priests (E. F., K. B. and C. J.) working at universities as researchers.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Competing interest

The authors disclose any financial or other competing interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Caritas Science and Christian Social Work, Faculty of TheologyAlbert-Ludwigs UniversityFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, Faculty of Health, Institute for Integrative MedicineWitten/Herdecke UniversityHerdeckeGermany
  3. 3.Munich School of Philosophy and Professorship of Spiritual CareUniversity of MunichMunichGermany
  4. 4.Pastoral Psychology and Sociology, Faculty of TheologyUniversity of PaderbornPaderbornGermany

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