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17 p.

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Pastoral Psychology

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A nationally selected, random sample of Roman Catholic secular (i.e., diocesan) priests was examined using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale and an instrument developed for this study to assess contributors to priests’ vocational satisfaction. In addition, a self-report inventory gathered information regarding participants’ demographics as well as four categories of predictor variables (i.e., overall level of vocational satisfaction, social support, spiritual activities, physical environment). The study yielded a response rate of 45%. Secular clergy reported rates of depression approximately seven times greater than are found in the general population, and also indicated that the recent sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic church had negatively affected their mood. Priests’ engagement in sacramental activities contributed greatly to their vocational satisfaction, and low levels of vocational satisfaction were found to be most predictive of depression. Factors comprising priests’ vocational satisfaction were External Manifestations (e.g., preaching, teaching), Internal Manifestations (e.g., prayer life, affirmation of God’s call), and Social Manifestations (e.g., relationships with parishioners, appreciation from others).


Accepted version. Pastoral Psychology, Vol. 54, No. 2 (November 2005): 139-155. DOI. © 2005 Springer. Used with permission.

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