The Honeymoon is Over: Occupational Relocation and Changes in Mental Health Among United Methodist Clergy

Abstract

In this study we examine how the process of relocation affects the mental health of United Methodist clergy and the extent to which relocation is associated with changes in clergy perception of the workplace environment and feelings of self-efficacy. We analyzed data from a longitudinal survey of 1375 clergy, one quarter of whom experienced a move between the baseline survey in 2008 and the follow-up survey 2 years later. Contrary to expectations, we find that mental distress decreased for those who recently moved compared to those who had moved 2 years prior. We also find strong evidence of a ‘‘honeymoon effect.’’ Recently relocated clergy report higher levels of self-efficacy and higher workplace morale compared to those who do not relocate. This study underscores the importance of examining the short and longer-term impact of moving on mental distress and presses scholars to consider the ways in which, under certain circumstances, relocation may improve mental health.

Publication
Date