Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

African Americans’ Described Experiences Seeking the Church After a Family Member’S Violent Death
by Chandler, Diane M., Ph.D., Capella University, 2020, 171; 27997504
Abstract (Summary)

This research study examined the described experiences of African American adults who sought the church for support after the violent death of a family member. There are existing disparities in mental health help-seeking behaviors of African American adults compared to other populations, which have been attributed to the omission of the importance of religion and spirituality and the church in the lives of African Americans. This disparity has also been attributed to a lack of understanding of the connection between religious influences on the mental health help-seeking behaviors of African American adults by mental health professionals. There is a gap in the literature on these mental health help-seeking disparities, and its importance continues to seek resolutions and understanding to gain insight into the mental health treatments of the African American adult population in seeking mental health support, by examining their described experiences after the violent death of a family member. Through a generic qualitative design and the theoretical lens of Pargament’s theory of religious coping, the research question, “What are the described experiences of African American adults who seek the church after the violent death of a family member?” is answered. Ten African American adults who sought the church after the violent death of a family member, and who did not seek mental health resources for support, were interviewed. The results added higher levels of understanding, cultural competency, and clearer insight into the described experience of African American adults. These results can be utilized by mental health counselors, counseling educators, and supervisors in serving this diverse population in their mental health help-seeking behaviors. The themes uncovered as a result of thematic analysis were (a) church is guidance through religion/spirituality in grief – for comfort and coping; (b) church is a resource for trust and relationships; (c) relationships with God and the pastor for wisdom, direction, and support; and (d) seeking the church through cultural and familial traditions. As counseling professionals increasingly embrace multicultural competency therapy, the importance of religion and spirituality must be recognized by counseling professionals in integrating their work with this specific population and minimizing the mental health help-seeking behavior disparities of African American adults.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Whiddon, Jana
Commitee: Wood, Sara, Young, Rosalyn, West, Lucinda
School: Capella University
Department: School of Counseling and Human Services
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Multicultural Education, African American Studies, Spirituality
Keywords: Church, Counseling, Cultural and spiritual competencies, Multicultural counseling
Publication Number: 27997504
ISBN: 9781083901637
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