Alleviating Stress in Clergy Wives: The Development and Formative Evaluation of a Psychoeducational Group Intervention

by Roberts, Polly Sheffield

Abstract (Summary)
The study addressed the problem that, although researchers have clearly identified areas of stress for clergy wives and suggested the use of counseling services, they have not identified effective counseling interventions. Clergy wives referred to non-clergy women married to Protestant clergymen. The study included (a) the development of Clergy Wife Wings (CWW), a 5-session psychoeducational group plan for 6 to 10 clergy wives, to alleviate ministry-related stress and (b) the formative evaluation of the plan in its first implementation. Conclusions drawn suggested that CWW showed good potential as an intervention in helping clergy wives to move towards alleviation of stress but needed revisions and additional implementation and evaluation. Recommendations provided a detailed list of specific revisions. CWW had an outcome goal for participants of decreasing ministry-related stress, particularly in three targeted stress domains: role expectations and time demands, clergy family boundary intrusiveness, and lack of social support. As presented in the literature review, the theoretical foundations in stress came from the multimodal-transactional model of stress and its treatment (Palmer, S. & Dryden, W., 1995) and from REBT. The literature review also contained, after a summary of the history of clergy wives, an overview of the plan, with references supporting the components. The plan included pre and post-group testing with two clergy-wife stress assessment instruments -- adaptations of the Clergy Family Life Inventory (Blanton, P., Morris, L, & Anderson, D., 1990) and of the Normative Stress Scale for Clergy Wives (Huebner, 1998). The formative evaluation of the group plan, in its first implementation, identified themes concerning effectiveness, strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvement. These themes emerged from the qualitative analysis of various documents completed by the 9 participants, the group facilitator, and a group observer. Qualitative findings suggested effectiveness of Clergy Wife Wings through themes of participant perceptions and of reported changes in their thinking and behavior related to stress. Quantitative findings, however, from the pre and post-group measures on the clergy-wife stress instruments did not suggest effectiveness, except for a significant decrease in stress related to two of 35 stressor statements. Discussion included possible reasons for the disparity between findings.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:James Garrison; Thomas Hohenshil; Hildy Getz; Gary Skaggs; Fred Piercy

School:Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

School Location:USA - Virginia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:counselor education


Date of Publication:05/03/2004

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