Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Second Advisor

Tevni Grajales

Third Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt



This study explored the relationship between personality and burnout. The facets of personality detailed in the Factor Five Model served as the independent variables, with burnout as the dependent variable. Research exists on the relationship between personality and burnout for individuals in helping professions. However, there is little research on the interaction between burnout and personality factors among Protestant clergy members.


A total of 602 participants who self-identified as living in the United States were recruited through an advertisement on Facebook. Participants all indicated they were Protestant members of the clergy and had been in the ministry for at least 6 years. Of the 602 participants, 124 (20.6%) were female and 478 (79.4) were male. One participant was under age 21 (0.2%), 20 were age 22 to 29 (0.033%), 116 were age 30 to 39 (19.3%), 137 were age 40 to 49 (22.8%), 191 were age 50 to 59 (31.68%), and 138 were age 60 or older (31.68%). The questionnaire completed by participants consisted of items from the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, 3rd Edition (NEO-FFI-3), which measures the Big Five personality variables (i.e., neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness), as well as some demographic variables.


Canonical correlational analysis was used to examine the relationships between the independent variables of personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) and components of the dependent variable, burnout (emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment, and depersonalization). Through this analysis the relationship between the variables and the level of shared variance was determined. In addition, beta coefficients were used to confirm the extent to which variables on the independent canonical variate predicted the variables of the dependent canonical variate. The model was statistically significant, Wilks’s λ = 0.317, F(15, 1640.17) = 56.477, p < .001, Rc = .759, Rc2 = .577, with moderate effect size.


According to Morgan and de Bruin (2010), there are strong links between personality and burnout, and the results of the present study suggested that this is also true for clergy members in the United States. Results of the present study indicated that personality traits collectively were moderately (.577) associated with burnout. In addition, it was found that the five personality variables (neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness) predicted depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and feelings of personal accomplishment (to varying degrees). For example, depersonalization was positively correlated with neuroticism (β = 0.447) and negatively correlated with extraversion (β = -0.073) and agreeableness (β = -0.269). Depersonalization was not significantly correlated with openness or conscientiousness. Emotional exhaustion was positively correlated with neuroticism (β = 0.595) and conscientiousness (β = 0.069) and negatively correlated with extraversion (β = -0.217). Emotional exhaustion was not significantly correlated with openness oragreeableness. Personal accomplishment was negatively correlated with neuroticism (β = -0.231) and positively associated with openness (β = 0.242), conscientiousness (β =0.181), and extraversion (β = 0.282). Personal accomplishment was not significantly correlated with agreeableness.

Subject Area

Burn out (Psychology)--Religious aspects; Stress (Psychology); Clergy--Job stress; Personality and occupation; Maslach Burnout Inventory