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.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Similar content being viewed by others
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).
Block, G., Block, T., Wakimoto, P., & Block, C. H. (2004). Demonstration of an emailed worksite nutrition intervention program. Prevention of Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 1, 1–13.
Byassee, J., & Jones, G. (2009). Methodists & microcredit. First things. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/10/methodists--microcredit. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
Carroll, J. W. (2006). God’s potters: Pastoral leadership and the shaping of congregations. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans Pub
Chalfant, H. P., Heller, P., Robers, A., Briones, D., Aguirre-Hochbaum, S., & Farr, W. (1990). The clergy as a resource for those encountering psychological distress. Review of Religious Research, 31, 305–313.
Clergy Renewal Program. (2009). http://www.clergyrenewal.org/. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
Emmons, K. M., Linnan, L. A., Shadel, W. G., Marcus, B., & Abrams, D. B. (1999). The working healthy project: A worksite health promotion trial targeting physical activity, diet, and smoking. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 41, 545–555.
Flannelly, K. J., Weaver, A. J., Larons, D. B., & Koenig, H. G. (2002). A review of mortality research on clergy and other religious professionals. Journal of Religion and Health, 41, 57–67.
Gunderson, G., & Pray, L. (2004). Leading causes of life. Memphis, TN: The Center of Excellence in Faith and Health, LeBonheur Healthcare
King, H., & Bailar, J. C. (1969). The health of the clergy: A review of demographic literature. Demography, 6, 27–43.
Kuhne, G. W., & Donaldson, J. F. (1995). Balancing ministry and management: An exploratory study of pastoral work activities. Review of Religious Research, 37(2), 147–163.
Lee, C., & Iverson-Gilbert, J. (2003). Demand, support, and perception in family-related stress among protestant clergy. Family relations, 52(3), 249–257.
Lindner, E. W. (2009). Yearbook of American & Canadian churches. Nashville: Abingdon.
Maddox, R. L. (2007). John Wesley on holistic health and healing. Methodist History, 46, 4–33.
McLeroy, K. R., Bibeau, D., Steckler, A., & Glanz, K. (1988). An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Education Quarterly, 15, 351–377.
Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change. New York: The Guilford.
Mountain Learning Center Retreat. (2009). http://www.pastor-care.com/home.html. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
Nystad, W., Meyer, H. E., Nafstad, P., Tverdal, A., & Engeland, A. (2004). Body mass index in relation to adult asthma among 135,000 Norwegian men and women. American Journal of Epidemiology, 160, 969–976.
Ozminkowski, R. J., Dunn, R. L., Goetzel, R. Z., Cantor, R. I., Murnane, J., & Harrison, M. (1999). A return on investment evaluation of the Citibank, N.A., health management program. American Journal of Health Promotion, 14, 31–43.
Perez, A. P., Phillips, M. M., Cornell, C. E., Mays, G., & Adams, B. (2009). Promoting dietary change among state health employees in Arkansas through a worksite wellness program: The health employee lifestyle program (HELP). Prevention of Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 6, 1–8.
Prochaska, J. O., & DiClemente, C. C. (1982). Transtheoretical therapy: Toward a more integrative model of change. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 19, 276–288.
Prochaska, J. O., Butterworth, S., Redding, C. A., Burden, V., Perrin, N., Leo, M., et al. (2008). Initial efficacy of MI, TTM tailoring and HRI’s with multiple behaviors for employee health promotion. Preventive Medicine, 46, 226–231.
Proeschold-Bell, R. J., LeGrand, S., James, J., Wallace, A., Adams, C., & Toole, D. (2009). A theoretical model of the holistic health of United Methodist clergy. Journal of Religion and Health. doi:10.1007/s10943-009-9250-1.
Proeschold-Bell, R. J., & LeGrand, S. (2010). High rates of obesity and chronic disease among United Methodist clergy. Obesity, 18(9), 1867–1870. doi:10.1038/oby.2010.102.
Rediger, G. L. (1997). Clergy killers: Guidance for pastors and congregations under attack. Louisville, KY, Westminister J. Knox Press
Rediger, G. L. (2007). The toxic congregation: How to heal the soul of your church. Nashville: Abingdon.
Reger-Nash, B., Bauman, A., Cooper, L., Chey, T., & Simon, K. J. (2006). Evaluating communitywide walking interventions. Evaluation and Program Planning, 29, 251–259.
Reynolds, S. L., & McIlvane, J. M. (2009). The impact of obesity and arthritis on active life expectancy in older Americans. Obesity, 17, 363–369.
Rothstein, M. A., & Harrell, H. L. (2009). Health risk reduction programs in employer-sponsored health plans: Part 1- efficacy. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 51, 943–950.
Rowatt, G. W. (2001). Stress and satisfaction in ministry families. Review & Expositor, 98(4), 523–543.
Serxner, S. A., Gold, D. B., Grossmeier, J. J., & Anderson, D. R. (2003). The relationship between health promotion program participation and medical costs: A dose response. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45, 1196–1200.
Stave, G., Muchmore, L., & Gardner, H. (2003). Quantifiable impact of the Contract for Health and Wellness: Health behaviors, health care costs, disability, and workers' compensation. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45, 109–117.
Taylor, H. A., Coady, S. A., Levy, D., Walker, E. R., Vasan, R. S., Liu, J., et al. (2009). Relationships of BMI to cardiovascular risk factors differ by ethnicity. Obesity. E-pub ahead of print 19 November 2009
The United Methodist Church. (2008). The book of discipline of the United Methodist Church. Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House.
U.S. Department of Labor. (2009). Occupational outlook handbook, 2008–2009 edition. Washington: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
United Methodist Book of Worship Committee. (1992). The United Methodist book of worship. Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House.
US Census Bureau. (2009). Question & answer center. http://www.census.gov/population/www/index.html. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
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.
About this article
Cite this article
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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-011-0382-3