Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 49–67 | Cite as

Burnout and Depression Among Roman Catholic Secular, Religious, and Monastic Clergy

  • Stephen G. Virginia


Burnout and depression among Roman Catholic secular, religious order, and monastic (Cistercian) priests was investigated using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CESD) scale. Additionally, a Self-Report-Inventory (SRI) was included requesting information on demographics as well as four categories of predictor variables (vocational satisfaction, social support, spiritual activities, and physical environment) associated with burnout and depression. All participants were randomly selected. The survey yielded a return rate of 90.67%. Secular clergy reported significantly greater emotional exhaustion than did monastic clergy. Secular priests also had significantly greater depression (72%), when compared to religious (40.8%) and monastic (39.5) clergy. Overall group comparisons revealed that secular clergy experienced the highest degree of burnout and depression, monastics the least, and religious priests falling in between. The lack of social support and sense of isolation, for secular clergy, were key elements associated with their experience of both burnout and depression.


Social Support Group Comparison Predictor Variable Physical Environment Return Rate 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen G. Virginia
    • 1
  1. 1.West Virginia UniversityUSA

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