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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3103

Title: Being Examples to the Flock: Transmission of Attitudes, Beliefs and Values about African Americans Seeking Mental Health Care Services within a Baptist Mega-Church
Authors: Allen, Argie J.
Keywords: Mental Health Services;Attitudes;African Americans;Baptist Church;Churches;Couple and Family Therapy
Issue Date: 25-Aug-2009
Abstract: Because of the centrality of the church for many African Americans, clergy within the Black Church have long had a significant role in addressing the social, economic, political and psychological needs of African Americans and their families. Little research has explored how the beliefs about mental health services differ across levels of leadership within a Baptist mega-church, and predictors of mental health service utilization within the context of church leaderships. This cross-sectional study examined the transmission of these beliefs across three levels of Church Leadership (Associate Pastor/Minister (AP/AM), Deacon/Deaconess (D/D), and Congregation Care Giver/Deacon Aide (CCG/DA) within one Baptist African American Mega-Church. 112 individuals (41% response rate) reflecting each level of the church leadership (22 AP/AM, 34 D/D, 56 CCG/DA) were recruited from 33 of the 44 biblical houses which structure church membership (including representation from all 3 levels for 12 biblical houses; 2 levels for 13 biblical houses and 1 level from 8 biblical houses ). Results suggest that frequency of dissemination of information regarding mental health services clearly varied across levels of the church hierarchy, with more frequent communication closer to the Senior Pastor than closer to the individual parishioners. Attitudes toward mental health services also varied in a similar fashion. With regard to predictors of utilization of mental health services, religious variables emerged as the most consistent set of predictors, although there was also evidence that sociodemographic and sociocultural variables played an important but less consistent role. Results suggest that support for mental health services at the Senior Pastor level do not guarantee undiluted dissemination of information and attitudes toward use of mental health services although religious variables themselves clearly matter. More explicit attention to these issues at all levels of leadership within the church may help to promote greater utilization of mental health services and this should be considered in future research drawing upon larger sample sizes and involving multiple churches in order to include variation in attitudes at the level of the Senior Pastor.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3103
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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