Date of Conferral
Anthony R. Perry
Clergy exhibit higher stress and mortality rates in relation to their nonclergy counterparts. Despite current research on clergy stress and mortality rates, health perceptions and health outcomes of Western religious oriented clergy have been understudied. Even less is known about health perceptions and health outcomes of Eastern religious oriented clergy. The role of stress, coping, and health perceptions in predicting actual health outcomes is important to study in clerical populations because of the impact their health might have on serving their parishioners. The purpose of this nonexperimental correlational study was to determine the relative strength of life stress, coping styles, health perceptions, age, and years in ministry in predicting clerical actual health outcomes (chronic disease). Self-regulation theory was used as the theoretical framework to better understand the relationship among these variables. A convenience sample of 129 Eastern Orthodox clergy across the United States completed an online survey. Ordinal logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relative strength of those variables in predicting actual health outcomes. The results of this study indicated that negative coping style and age were significant predictors of actual health outcomes (chronic disease). As levels of negative coping style and age increased, reports of chronic disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, and depression) also increased. Health professionals can use the results of this study to improve health outcomes and impact positive social change in clerical populations, which could increase the quality and stability of long-term spiritual care over time.