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Dissertation Abstract

An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Spiritual Renewal, Rest-taking, and Personal Support System Practices on Pastoral Burnout

Diane J. Chandler
Regent University

This study explored the relationships between spiritual renewal, rest-taking, and support system practices of pastors and the three dimensions of burnout: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. The sample was drawn from denominational and non-denominational Protestant churches and ministry networks within the United States (N = 270). Using the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (Maslach & Jackson, 1986) and researcher-designed questions, levels of burnout and pastors’ personal practices were assessed using item analysis in three stepwise regressions. Variables considered for the three regression models were all significant (p < .01). The first model for emotional exhaustion accounted for 47% of the variance, with spiritual dryness being the primary predictor. The second model for depersonalization accounted for 26% of the variance, with feeling rested and renewed being the primary predictor. The third model for personal accomplishment accounted for 18% of the variance, again with feeling rested and renewed being the primary predictor. Ministry involvement which prevents rest was a secondary predictor in the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization models. Of the three predictive models, emotional exhaustion offered the greatest predictive value. This research contributes to the literature on professional and pastoral burnout and has positive implications for leadership selfcare, specifically personal practices which foster holistic health and well-being