Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 97–109 | Cite as

Clergy Wellness: An Assessment of Perceived Barriers to Achieving Healthier Lifestyles

  • Greg Lindholm
  • Judy Johnston
  • Frank Dong
  • Kim Moore
  • Elizabeth Ablah
Original Paper


This study sought to obtain a better understanding of how clergy view their health and to investigate their self-reported health status. Additionally, this study sought to explore personal and professional barriers among clergy to living a healthier life. An electronic 32-item survey was sent to all practicing clergy in Kansas East and West conferences of United Methodist church by the Kansas Area Office of the United Methodist Church. Survey items included participants’ demographic information and health conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol). The self-reported general health, mental health, and physical health data were also collected to compare to the general population in Kansas. Clergy were also asked to identify perceived barriers to health. A total of 150 clergy participated in the survey. The majority (93.7 %) self-reported their health as good, very good, or excellent. Participating clergy self-reported a higher prevalence of chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol) than the Kansas general population, but those differences were not statistically significant. More than three-fourths (77.4 %) of the participating clergy reported weights and heights that classified them as either overweight or obese. Lack of family time was the most frequently reported personal barrier to achieving a healthier lifestyle. An unpredictable work schedule was reported as the most frequent professional barrier to achieving a healthier lifestyle. This study suggests that Kansas clergy generally view their overall health status favorably despite being overweight or obese. Clergy also self-reported higher prevalence of chronic diseases than the general Kansas population, though the prevalence was not statistically different. This study provides additional insight into clergy health and offers suggestions to address the barriers preventing clergy from working toward better health.


Clergy Wellness Barriers Health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greg Lindholm
    • 3
  • Judy Johnston
    • 1
  • Frank Dong
    • 1
  • Kim Moore
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Ablah
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of Kansas School of Medicine-WichitaWichitaUSA
  2. 2.United Methodist Health Ministry FundHutchinsonUSA
  3. 3.Preventive Medicine Center-McPhersonMcPhersonUSA

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