Missionary ministry satisfaction predictors: How spiritual attribution influences the effects of stress on family communication and satisfaction

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marriage and Family Therapy


Linda Stone Fish


Missionary, Ministry satisfaction, Spiritual attribution, Stress, Family, Communication

Subject Categories

Family, Life Course, and Society | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


This study examined the effects of stress on missionary family communication and satisfaction and missionary couple ministry satisfaction. It also examined how spiritual attribution, as a mediating variable, intervened and reframed the effects of stress on these same variables. Multiple regression analyses, in the form of a path model, were used to examine the relationships among the variables and to test a theoretically based conceptual model, based on family stress, family coping, and family systems theories. Variables were based on several instruments taken from pre-existing research. Sixty-eight missionary families, including a wife and husband (N = 136), and at least one adolescent (N = 110), comprised the sample population. Results show that couple stress was the only variable that predicted couple ministry satisfaction. Spiritual attribution, as a mediating variable, reduced the effects of stress on couple ministry satisfaction. Also, spiritual attribution directly impacted and predicted all but two variables. Of the family communication variables, only husband communication and adolescent-father communication related to and predicted family satisfaction. Husband communication was found to influence and predict adolescent-father and adolescent-mother communication, and wife communication was found to influence and predict adolescent-mother communication. The variables that directly influenced family satisfaction were couple spiritual attribution and adolescent-father communication, while those that indirectly influenced were couple stress, couple spiritual attribution, and husband communication. Family satisfaction had no predictive value for couple ministry satisfaction. The predictive effect of the model on couple ministry satisfaction was found to be weak ( r 2 = .188). However, when family satisfaction was made the dependent variable, the model became a rather moderate and good predictor, accounting for 34.6% of variance in family satisfaction ( r 2 = .346). What this means is that family stress theory, family coping theory, and family systems theory together appear to provide a valid theoretically and conceptually based model for predicting family satisfaction, but not for predicting ministry satisfaction.


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