Church-goers at mainstream churches have said they are being "spiritually abused" by leaders.
Research showed that more than 1,000 British Christians said they had experienced the abuse, which usually involves members invoking God's will or religious texts in order to punish or control and coerce a worshipper.
Two thirds of respondents to the survey carried out by Dr Lisa Oakley of the National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work at Bournemouth University said they had experienced spiritual abuse in the past.
Respondents said church leaders were also experiencing abuse from members of their own congregations.
Dr Oakley said: “There has been a focus in previous work in this area on leaders controlling and coercing those they lead, but a strong message in this research is that ministers and leaders also experience this form of abuse.