Project Documents

Date of Award

1999

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

James J. North

Third Advisor

Wilfredo Rodriguez

Abstract

The intensity of our work and living and the struggles we all experience have led to a dramatic increase in the incidence and severity of stress-related disorders, including depression. Ministers—as human beings and helping professionals—are not exempt from this reality. In fact, several studies have shown they are especially vulnerable to it. Although this is a sensitive issue, it needs to be discussed more openly, acknowledging its existence and taking steps to find causes and solutions.

This dissertation seeks to (1) measure and analyze the existence and the intensity of depressive symptomatology among Hispanic pastors of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists; (2) probe nine major areas that may be related to depression in this group; and (3) identify the support systems these ministers draw from to help them prevent or cope with this illness. To achieve these objectives, two questionnaires were mailed to the 400 Hispanic pastors working with Hispanic churches in the selected territory: (1) a cross-cultural scale for the quantitative measurement of depressive symptomatology in adults; and (2) a survey designed to assess marital and family issues, work-related issues, spiritual issues and devotional life, educational background and intellectual development, lifestyle and health, emotional health, social life and support systems, financial issues, and stressful life events.

The analysis of these instruments showed that a considerable percentage of the survey population presents levels of depressive symptomatology above the normal range, indicating different degrees of depression. It also established statistically significant correlations with most of the areas studied, demonstrating the complexity of this illness, which is usually related to a combination of many factors. Specific areas of strength and concern were pointed out and several recommendations were given. A balanced lifestyle—involving the spiritual, mental, physical, and social aspects of life—was recommended not only as the most effective antidepressant, but also as the best healing alternative. Suggestions on resources that can help ministers achieve this balance were also offered.

Subject Area

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

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/469

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