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Health Programming for Clergy: An Overview of Protestant Programs in the United States

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The health of clergy is important, and clergy may find health programming tailored to them more effective. Little is known about existing clergy health programs. We contacted Protestant denominational headquarters and searched academic databases and the Internet. We identified 56 clergy health programs and categorized them into prevention and personal enrichment; counseling; marriage and family enrichment; peer support; congregational health; congregational effectiveness; denominational enrichment; insurance/strategic pension plans; and referral-based programs. Only 13 of the programs engaged in outcomes evaluation. Using the Socioecological Framework, we found that many programs support individual-level and institutional-level changes, but few programs support congregational-level changes. Outcome evaluation strategies and a central repository for information on clergy health programs are needed.

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  1. Very few evaluations are randomized controlled trials, and other issues involve not controlling for societal factors in changing behavior, the lack of a longitudinal analysis to evaluate health changes over time, and selection bias (Rothstein and Harrell 2009).


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support offered by the representatives of the programs included in this paper; their time and information was invaluable for this compilation. The authors would also like to acknowledge the insightful comments made by Monica Rivers and Howard Moore. This study was funded by a grant from the Rural Church Program Area of The Duke Endowment.

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Correspondence to Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell.

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Wallace, A.C., Proeschold-Bell, R.J., LeGrand, S. et al. Health Programming for Clergy: An Overview of Protestant Programs in the United States. Pastoral Psychol 61, 113–143 (2012).

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