Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Dana Levitt

Committee Member

Michael Hannon

Committee Member

Pablo Tinio


Researchers have described the clergy profession as one of several occupations for which stress exists as an integral part of their job, which can impact their well-being. The research has investigated this topic of pastoral stress from a color-blind, etic perspective without regard to the multicultural factors of racial identity and ethnicity. While Black pastors exist as a major subset of clergy nationwide, the exploration of stressors Black pastors experience and the relationship between their specific vocational stressors and wellness has been rarely studied. This study seeks to fill the gaps in the literature by targeting Black pastors from historically Black denominations as well as Black independent and nondenominational churches in its sample. Utilizing the ABCX stress model along with hierarchical regression and path analysis, this study identified clergy distress (A-factor) experienced by Black pastors with pastors in medium and large congregations having significantly higher clergy distress than pastors in small churches. The coping strategies (B-factor) of stress management, spiritual well-being in daily life, and spiritual well-being in ministry provided some protection against clergy distress. Black pastors further experienced some irritation (C-factor) from clergy distress, but only stress management provided protection against it. None of the coping strategies contributed to satisfaction with life (X-factor). The best safeguard against clergy distress and irritation was a joint praxis of spiritual well-being in daily life and stress management. In their own words, Black pastors identified major stressors they experienced in the church and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Black pastors further identified their levels of stress during the pandemic, social protests against racial injustice, and the number of additional areas of stress they experienced.

File Format


Included in

Counseling Commons