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Temperament Profiles (Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, and Reward Dependence) among Swedish Clergy

Conference paper
Authors Danilo Garcia
Clara Amato
Erica Schϋtz
Kevin Cloninger
Published in XXXII International Congress of Psychology. Prague, Czech Republic.
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Clergy, Temperament, Personality, Well-Being
Subject categories Psychology


Background Clergy, as other helping professions, experience a large number of stressors in their work, including role overload, and emotional labor and run a greater risk for depression and burnout. Previous research indicates that one factor for burnout vulnerability is individuals’ temperament. We investigated the prevalence of different temperament profiles among Swedish clergy. Method 515 Swedish clergymen/women self-reported their temperament. We calculated the percentiles for the temperament traits using the Swedish norms data in order to cluster participants in the eight combinations of high/low Novelty Seeking (N/n), high/low Harm Avoidance (H/h), and high/low Reward Dependence (R/r). Then we calculated the prevalence (percentage) of each profile within this population. Results We found the following prevalence: 17.90% Passionate (NhR), 11.30% Sensitive (NHR), 11.10% Cautious (nHR), 19.20% Methodical (nHr), 9.10% Explosive (NHr), 8.50 Reliable (nhR), 11.50% Adventurous (Nhr), and 11.40% Independent (nhr). Conclusion About 49% of the participants had a profile denoted with high Reward Dependence (i.e., warm, dedicated, attached, and dependent) and 50% with high Harm Avoidance (i.e., worrying, pessimistic, doubtful, shy and low in energy). Moreover, 20% had a Methodological (nHr) profile, which might be described as obsessional (i.e., inhibited, nH, aloof Hr, and privacy-seeking, nr) if character strengths and plasticity are not well developed. Such individuals do well in professions that require order, objectivity, and caution, rather than professions that require warmth and empathic relationships. To fully understand burnout and dropout, however, it is necessary to include individuals’ character and also factors related to their work climate.

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