Clergy Existence Challenged: An Existential Psychological Exploration of Meaning-Making and Burnout Related to the Church of Sweden
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
This study explores the prevalence of stress-related burnout among clergy in the Church of Sweden in the current postmodern context. The study focuses on the seriousness of the problem and the role of burnout’s existential dimension. It involves an existential psychological approach in relation to clergy health, connecting to the area of meaning-making and existential health in psychology of religion. A mixed-method design has been used. The study’s first phase has included survey questionnaires related to the work environment of the parish priest, and a self-appraisal burnout measure. Lay members of parish councils have received a shorter questionnaire emphasizing expectations of the clergy. The second phase has included a second burnout measure and semi-structured reflective interviews with parish priests. A method for interpreting lived experience has been used Results indicate a strong connection between vocational doubt and emotional exhaustion, including items with existential themes. A particularly important category of items related to the experience of meaning has been found to have a significant relationship with questions concerning vocational doubt. The laity’s understanding of clergy identity is clearly dominated by managerial categories. It appears that the understanding and role of the minister is insufficiently distinctive. Reactions among the clergy express concern about the level of stress and the absence of dialogue and response. A strong connection between vocational doubt and emotional exhaustion points to void and lethargy. Relations between emotional exhaustion and responses relating to meaninglessness, career choice, and isolation have proven statistically significant. Existential themes related to risk areas and job resources have emerged. Results point to the need for pre-emptive measures in the parish context involving both laity and priests. A Clergy Relational Model of Burnout and Existential Quest is offered for studying mixed samples of parish priests and laity.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2009. , 230 p.
Psychologia et sociologia religionum, ISSN 0283-149X ; 22
Research subject Psychology of Religion
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-89331ISBN: 978-91-554-7435-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-89331DiVA: diva2:160134
2009-03-20, Universitetshuset Sal IV, Uppsala Universitet, Uppsala, 14:00 (English)
Jones, James W., Professor in religious Studies; Adjunct Professor in Psychology
DeMarinis, Valerie, ProfessorWikström, Owe, Professor