Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 631–641 | Cite as

Systemically Exploring Student Debt: Methodological Challenges for Pastoral Theology

  • Carrie Doehring


Moral stress arising from student debt is defined here as a psycho-spiritual stress response to the North American dream of achievement through individual hard work, which implicitly blames students for educational debt, exacerbating shame about aspects of their identity (their race, social class, gender, sexual orientation). A critical correlational method brings psychological research on moral stress, moral emotions, and religious struggles into dialogue with pastoral theologies of intersectionality and lived theologies of the North American dream in order to construct a compassion-based relational process of theological reflexivity fostering spiritually integrated financial resilience among students, staff, faculty, trustees, and denominational partners at theological schools.


Critical correlational method Student debt Moral stress Moral emotions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pastoral Care and CounselingIliff School of TheologyDenverUSA

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