Social Scientists as well as pastors have often expressed concern about the consequences of the stress experienced by the children of pastors. We conducted an on-line survey of pastors, spouses, and adult children for the North American Division. A total of 171 adult children of NAD pastors completed the survey. Overall, while less than 5%, reported any form of physical or sexual abuse, about 25% reported some concern about emotional/verbal abuse with 17% expressing at least some concern about spiritual abuse. Data analysis showed moderate to relatively high correlations between perceptions of being emotionally/verbally or spiritually abused and self-reports of concern about substance abuse, mental health, gambling, congregant/community behavioral expectations, domestic violence, and same sex attraction (between .20 & .46). There were also significant correlations with difficulty with personal prayer. These correlations strongly suggest that abuse may occur within a context of family dysfunction and congregant/community pressure that may result in a wide range of chemical and behavioral addictions and a diminished prayer life as well as mental health problems. It is important for the Church to be aware of these issues and to provide support services to reduce the stresses placed on the family of clergy and provide needed preventive and intervention services to improve the spiritual life and retention of pastor’s children.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_sedlacek/10/