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Keywords:

  • clergy;
  • burnout;
  • stress;
  • personality;
  • Presbyterian;
  • USA

Abstract

Pressures generated by increasing secularization and decreasing vocations to ordained ministry are resulting across denominations in a growing number of clergy serving more than one congregation. This study assesses the hypothesis that clergy serving more than one congregation are more susceptible to burnout. Data were provided by a sample of 735 clergy serving in The Presbyterian Church (USA) who completed the Francis Burnout Inventory together with the abbreviated Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised. Among these clergy, 82% served one congregation, 13% served two congregations, and 5% served three or more congregations. After controlling for individual differences in age and personality, the data demonstrated that clergy serving yoked congregations experienced no statistically significant differences in susceptibility to burnout, either in terms of levels of emotional exhaustion or in terms of levels of satisfaction in ministry, compared with colleagues serving just one congregation. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.