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Buessing, Arndt; Guenther, Andreas; Baumann, Klaus; Frick, Eckhard; Jacobs, Christoph (2013): Spiritual Dryness as a Measure of a Specific Spiritual Crisis in Catholic Priests: Associations with Symptoms of Burnout and Distress. In: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 2013, 246797
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Abstract

Spirituality/religiosity is recognized as a resource to cope with burdening life events and chronic illness. However, less is known about the consequences of the lack of positive spiritual feelings. Spiritual dryness in clergy has been described as spiritual lethargy, a lack of vibrant spiritual encounter with God, and an absence of spiritual resources, such as spiritual renewal practices. To operationalize experiences of ``spiritual dryness'' in terms of a specific spiritual crisis, we have developed the ``spiritual dryness scale'' (SDS). Here, we describe the validation of the instrument which was applied among other standardized questionnaires in a sample of 425 Catholic priests who professionally care for the spiritual sake of others. Feelings of ``spiritual dryness'' were experienced occasionally by up to 40%, often or even regularly by up to 13%. These experiences can explain 44% of variance in daily spiritual experiences, 30% in depressive symptoms, 22% in perceived stress, 20% in emotional exhaustion, 19% in work engagement, and 21% of variance of ascribed importance of religious activity. The SDS-5 can be used as a specific measure of spiritual crisis with good reliability and validity in further studies.