Role Stress – Experiences of Swedish Non-Lutheran Clergy

  • Dan Rosendahl PhD, Trinity Bible College and Trinity Theological Seminary, Evansville, IN, USA
  • Sirpa Rosendahl


Background: About fifty percent of Swedish Non-Lutheran Clergy leave the vocation before retirement resulting in huge personal, financial, psychological, emotional, spiritual and social costs. The factors behind this substantial flood out has scarcely been researched. From the multifaceted problematic aspects of pastoral work, the aim of this study was to explore the clergy’s experiences of work stressors with the focus on Role-stress. Method: A qualitative approach with 19 open ended interviews was used and the interview material underwent qualitative content analysis. Results: Multiple external role-senders together with the individual pastor’s experienced, internal expectations and demands, generated different types of Clergy role-categories that surfaced during the analysis. These roles were accompanied by several role-stressors as apparent with the roles Servants of men and Servants of God and the presence of Vision Conflict. Further the pastor as the Church’s ultimately responsible person is plagued by Role-ambiguity and Role-confusion, and as the Proven trustworthy administrator struggling with Role-conflict. Family-work and Work-family conflicts, especially for female pastors, contributed to Work overload, this consequence also effecting the male colleagues during the generic attempts to meet as many of the Church members’ expectations as possible. The accumulated Work overload, together with a lowered level of Work Satisfaction, boosted the Turnover intentions. Conclusions: Mutual succinct information between employer and employee, active continuous communication and refined and updated organizational structure need to be coordinated in order to lower the level of experienced role stress and thus reduce the present substantial number of Clergy leaving the vocation prematurely.
Feb 23, 2020
How to Cite
ROSENDAHL, Dan; ROSENDAHL, Sirpa. Role Stress – Experiences of Swedish Non-Lutheran Clergy. European Journal of Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 1, p. 108-118, feb. 2020. ISSN 2601-8640. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 06 may 2021. doi: