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Occupational conditions, self-care, and obesity among clergy in the United States

Social Science Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.08.014
  • Obesity
  • Health
  • Clergy
  • Stress
  • Self-Care
  • Occupations
  • Mathematics


Abstract Prior research has shown that a variety of occupational conditions such as long work hours are associated with increased likelihood of obesity. In this study, we use the specific case of the clergy to explore how occupational conditions are linked to increased or decreased odds of being obese. We hypothesize that stressful conditions are associated with increased odds of obesity and that self-care practices are associated with decreased odds. Using the 2008/9 U.S. Congregational Life Survey’s national sample of clergy from multiple religious traditions, we find support for our hypotheses. Clergy who experience more stress, work more hours, or are bi-vocational have higher odds of obesity. Those who take a day off each week, have taken a sabbatical, or are involved in a support group experience lower odds. For Protestant clergy, being involved in a support group or taking a day off moderates the association between certain stressful occupational conditions and obesity.

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