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In 2007, The Duke Endowment funded Duke Divinity School to assess and improve the health of United Methodist clergy in North Carolina.  Since then, the Clergy Health Initiative has:

With these data, we are able to discern a fuller picture by combining the experiences of clergy in their own words with the survey responses of large numbers of clergy. We can also compare the responses of clergy to those of the general population or people in other occupations.

Read more about our findings at Faith & Leadership and Duke Today:

Learn more about the need for this research and early interventions on The Duke Endowment website.

Published Research

Abstracts and citations for the papers listed below are available by clicking on the title. Journal subscriptions may be required to access the full paper on the journal's website; however, we offer our own PDF versions where permitted by the publisher.  For more information, please contact our research director, Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, Ph.D.

Holistic Health

A Two-Year Holistic Health and Stress Intervention: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial in Clergy
American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2017)     PDF version

“We Hide Under the Scriptures”: Conceptualization of Health Among United Methodist Church Clergy in Kenya
Journal of Religion and Health (2014)      PDF version

A Theoretical Model of the Holistic Health of United Methodist Pastors
Journal of Religion and Health (2009)     PDF version

Physical Health

An Overview of the History and Current Status of Clergy Health
Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community (2012)    PDF version

High Rates of Obesity and Chronic Disease Among United Methodist Clergy
Obesity (Journal of the Obesity Society) (2010)     PDF version

Physical Health Functioning Among United Methodist Clergy
Journal of Religion and Health (2010)     PDF version

Mental Health

The Glory of God is a Human Being Fully Alive: Predictors of Positive Versus Negative Mental Health Among Clergy
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2016)     PDF version

Using Effort-Reward Imbalance Theory to Understand High Rates of Depression and Anxiety Among Clergy
Journal of Primary Prevention (2013)     PDF version

Overcoming the Challenges of Pastoral Work? Peer Support Groups and Psychological Distress among United Methodist Church Clergy
Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review (2012)        PDF version

Spiritual Well-being

Closeness to God Among Those Doing God’s Work: A Spiritual Well-Being Measure for Clergy
Journal of Religion and Health (2013)    PDF version

Health Programming for Clergy

Use of a Randomized Multiple Baseline Design: Rationale and Design of the Spirited Life Holistic Health Intervention Study
Contemporary Clinical Trials (2013)    PDF version

Tailoring Health Programming to Clergy: Findings from a Study of United Methodist Clergy in North Carolina
Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community (2012)    PDF version

Health Programming for Clergy: An Overview of Protestant Programs
Pastoral Psychology (2011)    PDF version

Rural Clergy

Are Rural Clergy Worse Off?: An Examination of Occupational Conditions and Pastoral Experiences in a Sample of United Methodist Clergy
Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review (2011)        PDF version

Explaining Rural/Non-rural Disparities in Physical Health-related Quality of Life:  A Study of United Methodist Clergy in North Carolina
Quality of Life Research (2010)    PDF version

Research Methods

Use of a Randomized Multiple Baseline Design: Rationale and Design of the Spirited Life Holistic Health Intervention Study
Contemporary Clinical Trials (2013)    PDF version

Methodological Considerations in the Use of Name Generators and Interpreters Social Networks (2015) PDF version