Health and Life Satisfaction of Roman Catholic Pastoral Workers: Private Prayer has a Greater Impact than Public Prayer


Studying 7390 Roman Catholic pastoral workers (42 % priests, 13 % deacons, 20 % pastoral assistants, 25 % parish expert workers), we intended to clarify (1) which forms of religious activities were practiced and were thus of importance to them, (2) whether these activities were related to their experience of the transcendent in daily life, and (3) and how these measures were related to their psychosomatic health, stress perception and life satisfaction. We found almost equal levels of the experience of the transcendent in daily life (DSES) and in private prayer, but there were differences, particularly with respect to public prayer forms (e.g., the Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours). The frequency of spiritual practices showed either no significant or only some marginal associations with psychosomatic health, while DSES showed weak to moderate associations. This perception of transcendence was predicted best by private prayer and life satisfaction.

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Correspondence to Arndt Büssing.

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Büssing, A., Frick, E., Jacobs, C. et al. Health and Life Satisfaction of Roman Catholic Pastoral Workers: Private Prayer has a Greater Impact than Public Prayer. Pastoral Psychol 65, 89–102 (2016).

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  • Perception of the transcendent
  • Prayer
  • Pastoral workers
  • Psychosomatic health
  • Life satisfaction