BURNOUT, PSYCHOSOCIAL RESOURCES AND MENTAL HEALTH OF CLERGY: A CASE STUDY OF CHRIST IS THE ANSWER MINISTRIES, KENYA
SHIKANDA, ARTHUR OKOLLA
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Clergy are important community resources offering support to persons in need and are often the first to be called upon during emotional struggles. As such, they experience increased risk exposure to burnout. The study aimed to investigate the influence of burnout on mental health of clergy of Christ Is The Answer Ministries in Kenya (CITAM). The study was guided by five objectives: to establish the influence of emotional exhaustion on mental health of the clergy; to examine the influence of depersonalisation on mental health of the clergy; to determine the influence of low sense of accomplishment on mental health of the clergy; to find out the intervening role of psychosocial resources in mitigating burnout of the clergy, and to determine the influence of respondents‟ demographic traits on burnout and mental health of the clergy. A mixed-methods research design was used by combining quantitative and qualitative data. The target population was 91 clergy members of CITAM. The accessible population was 86 clergy members based in 25 assemblies in Kenya. Census technique was applied by administering the study to the entire accessible population. The study used in-depth interview guides alongside structured questionnaire. The questionnaire comprised Scale of Emotional Exhaustion in Ministry (SEEM) and a modified version of Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Mental health was measured using a 5-point Likert scale adapted from the Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental health Scale (SWEMWBS). The questionnaire was administered face-to-face. Instrument reliability was tested using Cronbach‟s alpha. All the items returned an alpha coefficient greater than 0.7. The individual interviews were conducted with 12 senior level clergy members of CITAM based at its Head Office. All instruments used were ascertained for criterion, face and content validity. The overall response rate was 79 percent. Questionnaire data was analysed using nonparametric inferential techniques such as Spearman‟s Rank Correlation Technique and Chi-square Test of Association. Quantitative data analysis was undertaken using SPSS version 25. Hypothesis testing was undertaken and statistical significance was accepted at p<.05. In-depth interviews were analysed using thematic analysis techniques. The resultant outputs were presented in figures and tables for ease of interpretation. Emotional exhaustion was the most prevalent burnout sub-type with a composite mean index of 2.18. All the three burnout sub-types were weakly correlated to poor mental health while the chi-square tests of association were not statistically significant. Psychosocial resources were highly available for 54% of the respondents. The overall mental health score on a 5-point scale was high (=4.38, =0.45), with 85% of the respondents having good mental health. Gender and years of service had statistically significant influence on both sense of accomplishment and mental health. The significance of the effect of burnout on clergy mental health was eliminated by the psychosocial resources. It was recommended that interventions that enhance the frequency and depth of debriefing by professional counsellors should be enhanced. The whole spectrum of predisposing and risk factors that are detrimental to clergy mental health should be considered for future psychosocial resource programming.