Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Michele Kietly

Renee Staton

Robin D. Anderson


The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how African American Pastors experience their role as mental health supporters. Researchers are continuing to conduct research to better understand some of the challenges and barriers African Americans may experience that impacts their attitudes towards mental health services. Many African Americans identify as spiritual or religious and implement coping skills based on their spiritual or religious connection to a High Power. This researcher focused on four male and four female Pastors who identified as African American and were located in the Eastern Region of the United States. The participants engaged in one semi-structured interview with the researcher. Open coding and axial coding were used to analyze the data and identify themes that emerged from the interviews. The following research questions were used to guide the study: (1) What are African Americans Pastors’ experiences of mental health issues in the Black church (2)What are African Americans Pastors’ beliefs in referring members to clinicians in the community (3) What are African Americans Pastors’ experiences with clinicians in the mental health community and (4) What approaches can the mental health community can take in building relationships with local churches.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.