Exposure to childhood trauma can have a lasting impact on the mental and emotional health of an individual (Ford & Courtois, 2009). Research on help-seeking behaviors indicate that 15% to 40% of individuals who experience mental health problems, including trauma-related concerns, initially contact a member of the clergy for help rather than contacting a medical or mental health professional (Nieuwsma et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2003); therefore, research into the trauma-related attitudes and beliefs of clergy is warranted. The purpose of this study was to understand the personal and professional factors that predict the trauma-related attitudes and beliefs of Christian clergy in the State of Florida as a first step in applying a trauma-informed care model to churches and other religious communities. Participants (N = 235) completed an online survey that included measures of trauma-related attitudes and beliefs, trait emotional intelligence, personal trauma exposure, the completion of trauma-related training, and clergy job responsibilities (i.e., hours per week spent in counseling and pastoral care activities). Hierarchical multiple regression was utilized, and results showed that trauma-related training and trait emotional intelligence were statistically significant predictors of trauma-related attitudes and beliefs. Trauma exposure and clergy job responsibilities were not statistically significant predictors. In light of these findings, implications for mental health professionals, counselor educators, clergy training programs, and researchers are provided.
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Hagedorn, W. Bryce
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Counselor Education and School Psychology
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Pennock, Elizabeth, "Trauma-Informed Clergy: An Investigation of Factors Predicting the Trauma-Related Attitudes of Christian Clergy in Florida" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 743.
Restricted to the UCF community until August 2024; it will then be open access.