Project Documents

Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Alfonso Valenzuela

Second Advisor

Nancy Jean Vyhmeister

Third Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Abstract

Today depression affects millions. Its causes include social and psychosocial factors, as well as physical problems. The adverse atmosphere of the large cities, together with the speed of change and the stress of modem life, foster depression It has been recognized that persons in helping professions, ministers among them, are more prone to depression than others. Much is expected of pastors, both by their parishioners and their superiors. Often they work long hours and thus forego the support of their families. With these factors in mind, I studied depression among Seventh-day Adventist pastors in southern Mexico, looking for its frequency and the possible causes. I used the 20-question Zung Self-rating Depression Scale and a four-page questionnaire for pastors, adapted from the English. Information came from the answers of 167 pastors of the Inter- Oceanic and South Mexico unions.

Of the respondents, 23.7 percent suffered some degree of depression, with only 2.3 percent in the moderate to significant category. Eight of these pastors admitted having attempted suicide. Nevertheless, of those who were depressed according to the Zung scale, 14 said they had no depression at all. For those who were depressed, the greatest problem was finances. In second place were difficulties at work. Health and family problems followed. The respondents insisted that an adequate devotional life was the best weapon against depression. Only a few felt that they would seek help from another person, and then, not from a counselor, but from a trusted colleague or family member. The pastor himself, assisted by his family and the Ministerial Secretary of the field where he works, must recognize his vulnerability and take measures against depression. These measures include a healthy life style, stress control, and an adequate devotional life.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Clergy--Psychology; Seventh-day Adventists--Clergy--Mental health; Depression, Mental

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