Date of Conferral





Public Health


JaMuir Robinson


Data indicated that although African Americans reported fewer occurrences of traumatic events than that of their racial/ethnic counterparts, however, the degree of traumatic events experienced by African Americans tends to be more serious and violent in nature. More so, lower recovery outcomes associated with PTSD among African Americans have been attributed to varying factors, such as financial restrictions, strained health care access, ineffective coping strategies as well as a mistrust of medical and clinical approaches, thus leading African Americans to seek faith-based approaches. This phenomenological study investigated clergy perspectives on religious coping constructs relative to the management of PTSD symptoms. The theory of religious coping was the theoretical framework: Based on Pargament’s assertion that an individual’s spirituality and religious disposition should be considered within the context of biopsychosocial analysis of mental health assessment in order to treat the whole person. Eight clergy members ordained within the African Methodist Episcopal Church denomination were interviewed in order to gain their perspectives relative to if and/or how religious coping constructs were exhibited during the management of PTSD symptoms. This investigation identified 10 themes associated with 4 constructs of religious coping: relevant training, establishment of a new normal, the relevancy of religion and the Black Church, purpose-centered trauma, divine personal encounters, active divine presence, divine reliance, the use of rituals, safe environment, and forgiveness of self, others and God. The results of this investigation reaffirmed that the inclusion of religious coping is a viable component of a holistic approach to addressing mental health adversities alongside medical and clinical approaches.