Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 878–894 | Cite as

Closeness to God Among Those Doing God’s Work: A Spiritual Well-Being Measure for Clergy

  • Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell
  • Chongming Yang
  • Matthew Toth
  • Monica Corbitt Rivers
  • Kenneth Carder
Original Paper


Measuring spiritual well-being among clergy is particularly important given the high relevance of God to their lives, and yet its measurement is prone to problems such as ceiling effects and conflating religious behaviors with spiritual well-being. To create a measure of closeness to God for Christian clergy, we tested survey items at two time points with 1,513 United Methodist Church clergy. The confirmatory factor analysis indicated support for two, six-item factors: Presence and Power of God in Daily Life, and Presence and Power of God in Ministry. The data supported the predictive and concurrent validity of the two factors and evidenced high reliabilities without ceiling effects. This Clergy Spiritual Well-being Scale may be useful to elucidate the relationship among dimensions of health and well-being in clergy populations.


Spiritual well-being Measure Clergy Health 



We are deeply indebted to the Rural Program Area of The Duke Endowment for funding the Duke Clergy Health Initiative. We thank the United Methodist Church clergy of North Carolina for taking the time to fill out our panel survey twice. We also thank John James for reviewing early versions of the survey items. We thank Crystal MacAllum, Gail Thomas, and their Westat team for diligent data collection. Finally, we thank David Toole, Principal Investigator of the Duke Clergy Health Initiative, and Mark Chaves for comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell
    • 1
  • Chongming Yang
    • 2
  • Matthew Toth
    • 3
  • Monica Corbitt Rivers
    • 4
  • Kenneth Carder
    • 5
  1. 1.Duke Global Health InstituteDuke University Center for Health Policy and Inequalities ResearchDurhamUSA
  2. 2.College of Family, Home, and Social SciencesBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Center for Congregational HealthWake Forest Baptist HealthWinston-SalemUSA
  5. 5.Duke Divinity SchoolDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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