Orientation to the demands of ministry: Construct validity and relationship with burnout

Maureen Miner*, Sam Sterland, Martin Dowson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates a new understanding of clergy burnout based on the proposed psychological consequences of secularization. A new construct, internal orientation to ministry, was hypothesized to be associated with clergy burnout and distress. A sample of 262 Protestant ministers in Australia completed measures of burnout, anxiety, depression, religious self-esteem and religious problem-solving, as well as the Orientations to the Demands of Ministry Survey (ODM-S), which was developed to assess internal orientations towards ministry demands in a secularized society. Correlations with other religious measures supported the construct validity of the ODM-S. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that a weak internal ministry orientation was a significant predictor of burnout, depression and anxiety over and above the effects of key demographic and other religious measures. Together, the results of the study highlight the role of a weak internal orientation to ministry as a psychologically "toxic" response to the undermining social forces of secularization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-479
Number of pages17
JournalReview of Religious Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


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