Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 149–163 | Cite as

The Relationship of Clergy Burnout to Self-Compassion and Other Personality Dimensions

  • Laura K. Barnard
  • John F. Curry


Religious leaders often experience burnout, which is characterized by emotional exhaustion and/or low satisfaction. Clergy with high emotional exhaustion feel drained and discouraged. Clergy with high satisfaction report that the ministry gives purpose and meaning to their lives. Hierarchichal regression was used to examine if current clergy’s desire to please others, guilt or shame orientation, ability to be self-compassionate, and ability to differentiate self from role uniquely predicted variation in burnout. Although all personality dimensions explained significant variation in emotional satisfaction when examined individually, due to inter-correlations among predictors only self-compassion was significant in the full model. Higher self-compassion was also related to increased satisfaction in ministry. Increasing self-compassion may prevent clergy burnout.


Clergy Burnout Personality Self-compassion Shame 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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