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Do Self-efficacy Expectation and Spirituality Provide a Buffer Against Stress-Associated Impairment of Health? A Comprehensive Analysis of the German Pastoral Ministry Study


We aimed to analyse stress perception, psychosomatic health and life satisfaction in pastoral professionals, paying particular attention to their individual and shared resources. Enrolling 8574 German pastoral professionals (48 % priests, 22 % parish expert workers, 18 % pastoral assistants, 12 % deacons), we found that pastoral professionals’ stress perception is associated with psychosomatic health impairment. General self-efficacy was a beneficial resource to protect against stress perceptions, while perception of the transcendent had a further yet weakly positive influence for stress-related impairment of health. External stressors (i.e. team size, duration of work per week and size of pastoral unit) were only of marginal independent relevance.

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We are very grateful to the supporting team, particularly Andreas Günther, Cécile Loetz and Jakob Müller for their gracious assistance.

Conflict of interest

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 (EF, KB, CJ) working at universities as researchers. The authors disclose any financial or other competing interests.

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Correspondence to Arndt Büssing.

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Frick, E., Büssing, A., Baumann, K. et al. Do Self-efficacy Expectation and Spirituality Provide a Buffer Against Stress-Associated Impairment of Health? A Comprehensive Analysis of the German Pastoral Ministry Study. J Relig Health 55, 448–468 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-015-0040-7

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  • Stress perception
  • Impairment of health
  • Catholic priests
  • Pastoral workers
  • Life satisfaction