Navigation Links
Health interventions for clergy must counteract need to put others first

DURHAM, N.C. -- Clergy's practice of putting others first can be detrimental to their own health, say researchers at Duke University.

Pastors have been found to have higher-than-average rates of chronic disease and depression. But it may be difficult to get pastors to seek care because they typically default to caring for others first.

Duke researchers have been trying to design health programs that will be more effective for clergy, given these tendencies.

"Clergy recognize the importance of caring for themselves, but doing so takes a back seat to fulfilling their vocational responsibilities, which are tantamount to caring for an entire community," said Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, research director of the Clergy Health Initiative at Duke Divinity School and assistant research professor at the Duke Global Health Institute.

"Many pastors equate self-care with selfishness," Proeschold-Bell said. "They feel they need permission to take the time to attend to their health. A health intervention aimed at clergy must address this tendency head-on."

Her group's latest study, published June 13 in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, underscores the need to place preventive care programs for clergy in the context of their beliefs, congregational expectations and church polity. The findings are drawn from in-depth focus group data from 88 United Methodist clergy in North Carolina. Duke maintains a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

To succeed, health intervention programs must overcome a variety of potential barriers named by clergy: cost, distance, pastors' unpredictable work schedules and fear that mental health issues will be discovered and stigmatized by congregants and supervisors.

The focus group clergy also emphasized that any health intervention must demonstrate the connection between physical, mental and spiritual health.

Research by the Duke Clergy Health Initiative has found that compared to other North Carolinians, United Methodist clergy have higher-than-average rates of obesity (40 percent versus 29 percent), as well as higher rates of diabetes, asthma, arthritis and hypertension. They also exhibit symptoms of depression at nearly double the national average: 10.5 percent vs. 5.5 percent.

Yet, despite reporting higher rates of chronic disease, these clergy were more likely to say their health did not affect their ability to do their work.

"Clergy perceive themselves to be much healthier than they actually are," said Proeschold-Bell. "They don't always recognize that they need help. That makes it all the more important that we design health interventions that pastors are likely to accept."

The Duke Clergy Health Initiative is testing this idea through a multi-year health intervention called Spirited Life.

More than 60 percent of the United Methodist clergy in North Carolina are currently enrolled in the program, through which they receive two years of intervention services. The program is theologically grounded and is the first study to combine weight loss and stress management interventions into a single program lasting more than 12 months.


Contact: Kate Rugani
Duke University

Related medicine news :

1. You Survived Cancer: Now Pay Attention to Your Overall Health
2. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
3. Weill Cornell Medical College establishes Center for Healthcare Informatics and Policy
4. Esophageal Cancer Surgery Can Leave Lingering Health Problems, Study Says
5. Climate Change Could Be Tough on Seniors Health: Study
6. Supporting LGB children may influence their long-term health, BU study finds
7. U.S. Spends Too Little on Public Health Initiatives: Report
8. Optimal care of bariatric surgery patients vital for long-term health and well-being
9. Timing pregnancy an important health concern for women
10. Unique approach needed to accurately assess health of young adult cancer survivors
11. Social ties have mixed impact on encouraging healthy behaviors in low-income areas
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 ... ... respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need ... but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on ... Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability ... fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned ... the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at ... fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a ... the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who ... , Research from reveals that behind the tendency to set ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle ... chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of ... Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... VEGAS , June 26, 2016 ... to value-based care operating models within the health care ... enable greater financial efficiency , Deloitte offers a ... the key business issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor ... , These services facilitate better outcomes and better ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) ... developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of grievous ... the closing of its previously announced underwritten public ... the public offering price of $18.75 per share. ... offered by GBT. GBT estimates net proceeds from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets ... Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and ... dumb structures such as vehicle bodies or conformally ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: