Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Micah McCreary


While African Americans show similar rates of mental health concerns, they seek and obtain significantly fewer traditional mental health services (MHS) as compared to other groups. One alternative to traditional forms of MHS is the use of church-based resources, such as pastoral counseling. Pastors frequently report counseling as a large part of their duties. Therefore, their perceptions about mental health have a major impact on services that parishioners receive. This online survey assessed 40 pastors' perceptions about mental health services, as well as perceived needs for information or training. Attitudes about mental health were significantly related to variety of counseling provided and frequency of counseling. Attitudes toward mental health, church size, and pastoral education did not significantly predict counseling or referral. Topics discussed in counseling and desires for more training were evaluated and areas for future intervention are discussed in light of results from this study.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Psychology Commons