Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Walter Frazier


The Black Church has been a powerful support system for African Americans, providing economic, and psychological support in addition to meeting spiritual and religious needs. African American church leaders continue to provide a multitude of services to the community; however, research has shown that African American Protestant Christian churchgoers'€™ preference for informal supports may exacerbate some symptoms of mental illness as people may postpone seeking formal help. Utilizing a nonexperimental, cross-€sectional design, this study examined the relationship between these churchgoers'€™ attitudes toward religious help-€seeking and attitudes toward professional help-€seeking. One hundred four African American Protestant Christian churchgoers in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States participated in this study. Data were collected using online and paper and pencil self-€administered surveys. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Religious Commitment Inventory-€10, The Attitudes toward Religious Help-Seeking Scale, and The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services. A hierarchical regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between religious and professional help-seeking attitudes while controlling for the religious denomination, prior utilization of counseling services, and religious commitment. The results of this study support previous research showing that African Americans who are affiliated with a church have more favorable attitudes towards seeking help from their church than they do towards seeking professional help. The results of this study can influence the way counselors communicate with church leaders to improve mental health care for the African American community.