Date of Award

1996

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Second Advisor

Lynn Millar

Third Advisor

Alfonso Valenzuela

Abstract

Problem. Clergy sexual misconduct creates credibility, marital, family, and financial problems in the general church. The purpose of this study was to determine, through a survey research methodology, personality and situational factors in the lives of active clergy that may be related to clergy sexual misconduct.

Method. Two hundred sixty-nine pastors filled out questionnaires pertaining to spiritual well-being, locus of control, burnout, social support, active pre-marital sexual conduct, erotic thoughts, naivete/lack of training, demographics, and sexual involvement with a non-spouse while in the ministry. Univariate, discriminant, and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the influence of each variable on the incidence of sexual misconduct.

Results. Four significant factors predicted 14% of the variance of clergy sexual misconduct. The factors were: greater involvement in pre-marital sexual conduct, greater age, negative feelings of religious spiritual well-being, and perception of a lack of social support.

Conclusions. There are some factors that seem to influence a pastor's decision to become involved in sexual misconduct. The predictors are not definitive, however, and care must be taken not to draw definite conclusions from positive responses to the significant factors.

Subject Area

Clergy--Sexual behavior, Sexual ethics--Religious aspects.

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