Do Self-efficacy Expectation and Spirituality Provide a Buffer Against Stress-Associated Impairment of Health? A Comprehensive Analysis of the German Pastoral Ministry Study

J Relig Health. 2016 Apr;55(2):448-68. doi: 10.1007/s10943-015-0040-7.


We aimed to analyse stress perception, psychosomatic health and life satisfaction in pastoral professionals, paying particular attention to their individual and shared resources. Enrolling 8574 German pastoral professionals (48% priests, 22% parish expert workers, 18% pastoral assistants, 12% deacons), we found that pastoral professionals' stress perception is associated with psychosomatic health impairment. General self-efficacy was a beneficial resource to protect against stress perceptions, while perception of the transcendent had a further yet weakly positive influence for stress-related impairment of health. External stressors (i.e. team size, duration of work per week and size of pastoral unit) were only of marginal independent relevance.

Keywords: Catholic priests; Impairment of health; Life satisfaction; Pastoral workers; Stress perception.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clergy / psychology*
  • Clergy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pastoral Care
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / etiology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Spirituality*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology