Research Outline

Effects of Clergy Occupation


To explore the effects of clergy occupation on marriage and mental health from journals and research databases in order to investigate a research problem.

Early Findings


  • According to a research study conducted among 418 clergies, the stressful life of clergy might affect their mental health by fostering an "elevated sense of spiritual struggle." Their mental health might be affected by negative interactions with the members of the congregation, chronic religious doubts, troubled relationships with god, and more.
  • According to a research study conducted by the Mental Health Task Force of Disability Concerns, clergy occupation brought stress and anxiety issues among 45% of the researched population. These people sought help from their respective family doctors.
  • According to the research, "the number of pastors diagnosed with clinical depression was double the national average."
  • One in four pastors admitted in a research study that they struggled with mental illness at some point.
  • Two paywalled research focused on the mental health of clergy can be found here and here.


  • A behavioral scientist named Roy Oswald concluded that the wives of clergymen have higher stress levels than clergymen and clergywomen.
  • According to Jane P. Ives, United Methodist Marriage and Family Ministries Consultant, "clergy families, like all others, struggle with relationship breakdown, parenting difficulties, eldercare and extended family issues, addictions, sudden illness and chronic disease, and the loss of loved ones."
  • According to a 2013 report, some factors that cause unhappy marriage include poor communication; difficulty in handling negative emotions, anger, depression, and burnout; and sexual difficulties.
  • According to a research study conducted in 2011, the problems and stress in the lives of the wives of clergy "far outweighed the protective factors." However, they still considered going through the hardships for their respective spouses.
  • A research study conducted among "1294 evangelical ministers (most of whom are married) and 80 Roman Catholic priests in Canada" in 1998 verified that being a celibate did not really affect one's spiritual and personal life. The personal lives of both married and unmarried clergy were similar.