Clergy Spouse Well-Being
1 online resource (98 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The needs of clergy members and clergy family members present researchers with a unique and complex set of variables. While an ever-increasing body of research related to work-related stress and high rates of chronic disease and depression among clergy is available, clergy spouses are often excluded from the studies. Unlike other professions, the work of clergy impacts the whole family, for better or worse. Through qualitative thematic analysis, this study explores the well-being of clergy spouses through the lens of McLeroy’s Ecological Model for Health Promotion, exploring intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and policy factors. Two research questions were posed: "What is the current state of clergy spouse well-being?" and "What can be done to nurture the well-being of clergy spouses?"Two forms of qualitative data were collected. Personal interviews were conducted with six spouses of active United Methodist clergy. Also, previously collected focus group transcripts from archival data were obtained from Duke University Divinity School’s Clergy Health Initiative. Based on the analysis of data, clergy spouses report feelings of isolation and resentment. Expectations for clergy spouses by church congregations vary, but are still prominent in many churches, with some clergy spouses feeling like unpaid staff members. Participants also report the United Methodist Church’s denominational system of itinerancy causes stress for clergy spouses. Although clergy spouses experience difficulties, the participants who were interviewed emphasized a strong commitment to partner with their spouse in ministerial endeavors. This study also explores participants’ suggestions for solutions to stress-inducing factors related to the church, both locally and denominationally.
D'Amico, MarkLim, Jae HoonFurr, Susan
Thesis (D.Ed.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2016.
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