Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Donna J. Habenicht

Second Advisor

Nancy J. Carbonell

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai


Problem. The purpose of this study was to ascertain if there is any relationship between the unique aspects of the pastoral family, the relationships of the PK, and his or her adult religious commitment.

Method. The population included Seventh-day Adventist pastors' children (PKs) who were age 25 or older and whose fathers were ministers for at least 10 years before subjects were 18 years old. A survey was completed by 487 subjects. Data were analyzed using multiple-regression, correlational, and qualitative methods.

Results. All variables unique to the pastoral home correlated significantly with measures of religious commitment--feelings towards moving (not actual number ofmoves), consistency of parental behavior, family time, ability to be oneself without being noticed, expectations perceived as greater than for others, the status of having a pastor as a father, and support of church and members. The strongest predictor ofweak religious commitment was the PK's perception that more was expected of him/her.

Intimacy with each parent correlated positively with religious commitment. A satisfying parental marriage and relationships with friends and extended family correlated positively with some of the measures of religious commitment, although most correlations were extremely low.

Qualitative analysis was consistent with the quantitative analysis and lent further support. Perception of expectations was the most frequently mentioned dislike, whereas people and friendships was the most liked. Attendance at special church events or meetings of the SDA church was viewed positively.

Conclusion. The unique aspects of the clergy home and the experience of being a PK seem to be related to the religious commitment of the adult child of a minister, although not strongly. Influences other than being a PK appear to have a greater impact. Pastors' children have shared, strong feelings about their experience. Those PKs who were more religiously committed came from homes characterized by apositive parental relationship with positive spiritual role models, quality family time, freedom to be themselves, and boundaries between church and home.

Subject Area

Children of clergy, Parent and child

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