Jay Pope, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, presented the paper “Personality, Mental Health, and Well-Being in Pastors: Clues from 40 Years of Rich Archival Data” at the Christian Association for Psychological Studies Annual Conference in Louisville, KY, March 30-April 1, 2023. The study was done in collaboration with Link Care Center, a Fresno counseling service, with important contributions from the following FPU students and alumni: Helen Cueto Flores, Makenzee Critzer, Faustino Mendoza, Stephanie Tamez, Andrea Hernandez, Ron Wolfart, Jessica Renna, Elyse Vincent, Paimanjot Kaur and Olga Tovostan.
Two significant findings from the study were:
- Pastors are generally mentally healthy individuals and on par with the general population in terms of having mental illness.
- Trauma and its perception were very important. Pastors who had experienced trauma in the past and recognized it as traumatic tended to have poorer job performance and more mental health problems. But if they went through something traumatic but did not perceive it as traumatic, it had no effect on performance or mental health.