Have a Question?
Ask the Graduate
College at our new
Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Darryl P. Plunkett
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Exploring the Relationships Between Religious Faith, Mental Health Help Seeking Attitudes and Preferences for Counselor Characteristics Among Black American Churchgoers
Dr. Stephen E. Craig, Chair
Dr. Patrick Munley
Dr. Brooks E. Applegate
Dr. Lonnie E. Duncan
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
Empirical data has shown that Black American churchgoers have generally higher baseline rates of religious involvement than the general U.S. population (Chatters, Taylor & Lincoln, 1999). Researchers have noted the influence of religion on the help seeking attitudes of Black Americans (Abernethy, Houston, Mimms, & Boyd-Franklin, 2006) and have also identified counselor characteristics preferred by Black Americans when seeking help for mental health problems (Atkinson, Furlong, & Poston, 1986). However, Black American churchgoers are rarely identified as the target population in empirical studies and little is known about the relationships between their religious faith, help seeking attitudes and preferences for counselor characteristics. Researchers have called for expanded studies to examine both the role of religion and the potential of the Black church to provide mental health services for Black American churchgoers. This study responds to this call by exploring the relationships between Black American churchgoers’ religious faith, mental health help seeking attitudes and preferences for counselor characteristics.
Participants are Black American churchgoers (N=276) who attend Black churches in two Midwestern states. Participants completed a survey packet that consists of four instruments: a demographic questionnaire, the Age-Universal Religious Orientation Scale (AUROS) (Gorsuch & Venable, 1983), Fischer and Turner’s (1970) Attitude toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale (ATTSPPHS), and a modified version of the Preferences for Counselor Characteristics Scale (Atkinson, Furlong & Poston, 1986).
The Bradley-Terry-Luce (BTL) (cited in McGuire & Davison, 1991) model of weighted least squares regression analysis is used to determine if differences exist in participant’s preferences for the following characteristics of a counselor relative to the participants: similar religion, similar attitudes and values, more educated, similar personality and older age. Results of the weighted least squares regression analysis indicate that the most salient characteristics of a counselor for participants in this study were similar religion, more educated and similar attitudes and values. The findings of this study have implications for counselor education training and research.