Seventh-day Adventist Clergy: Understanding Stressors and Coping Mechanisms

Abstract

This article examines the extent and types of clergy stress, the strategies used in coping with stressors, and the relationship between stressors and coping mechanisms in a sample of 261 Seventh-day Adventist pastors in North America. The results indicate that the most commonly reported stressors in order are: (1) lack of social support, (2) financial stress, and (3) time and workload stress. In terms of coping strategies, pastors sought relief most often through: (1) reflective growth/internal change; (2) social/emotional coping; (3) passive coping; and lastly (4) action-oriented coping. Significant correlational relationships existed between passive coping and financial stress, relocating stress, and congregational stress. In addition, we found significant inverse correlations between coping through reflective growth or internal change and relocating stress and congregational stress. There were no significant relationships with action coping or social/emotional coping and any stressor. Multi-regression analysis reveals that passive coping strategies were significantly related to financial stress. Thus, the greater the financial stress, the more likely pastors were to engage in passive coping strategies. Other coping strategies showed no significant relationships when included in multi-regression analysis. We conclude with recommendations for Church administrators to address structures and practices in place for pastors including an expansion of coping mechanisms to help pastors address their stress.

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Correspondence to Duane McBride.

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Heck, A., Drumm, R., McBride, D. et al. Seventh-day Adventist Clergy: Understanding Stressors and Coping Mechanisms. Rev Relig Res 60, 115–132 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13644-017-0312-7

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Keywords

  • Seventh-day Adventist clergy
  • Seventh-day Adventist Church
  • Stressors
  • Coping strategies