Review of Religious Research

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Forced Termination of American Clergy: Its Effects and Connection to Negative Well-Being

  • Marcus N. TannerEmail author
  • Anisa M. Zvonkovic
  • Charlie Adams
Original Paper


Forced termination of clergy involves constant negativity found in personal attacks and criticism from a small congregational faction. The minister feels psychologically pressured to step down from the ministry position and this process is often demeaning to the emotional and physical well-being of the minister. The prevalence of forced termination among clergy has ranged from 25% among many denominations to 41% among Assemblies of God ministers. Forced termination and its effects are serious problems that have yet to be adequately addressed by scholars in social science research. The lack of scholarly research in this area called for a large national study from a reputable research institution. This online study shows that 28% of ministers among 39 denominations experienced a forced termination. Forced termination was associated with high levels of depression, stress, and physical health problems. Forced termination was also associated with low levels of self-efficacy, and self-esteem.


Clergy Families and work Forced termination Occupational stress Mental health 


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus N. Tanner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anisa M. Zvonkovic
    • 2
  • Charlie Adams
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Tech UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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