Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Rudolph Bailey

Second Advisor

Dennis Waite

Third Advisor

Karl Bailey

Abstract

Problem. As in the mainstream population, Adventists are dealing with a variety of mental health issues, and there has been no empirical research which explored their attitudes and beliefs concerning psychology, counseling, and mental health issues.

Method. A survey was used to collect data on beliefs about psychology, attitudes towards counseling, beliefs about mental health issues, and beliefs about medical care from a sample of 317 Adventist adults from the Illinois Conference. Data were also analyzed to understand the relationship between the independent variables—gender, utilization of psychological services, the Seventh-day Adventist’s degree of knowledge about the writings of Ellen G. White on psychology, and the Seventh-day Adventist’s degree of knowledge about the writings of Adventists on psychology—and the dependent variables: beliefs about psychology, attitudes toward counseling, and beliefs about mental health issues.

Results. The study showed that, in general, Adventists have positive beliefs towards psychology and mental health issues and positive attitudes towards counseling. Using categorical regression, the study also indicated that having knowledge about psychology is related to having positive beliefs about psychology as a legitimate science, having positive attitudes about the role of counseling, having positive attitudes about participating in counseling, and having positive beliefs about the existence of mental health issues. Adventists who are currently or have used psychological services in the past have positive beliefs about psychology, positive understanding of the role of counseling, and positive attitudes about participating in counseling.

Conclusions. Positive beliefs and attitudes of Adventists concerning psychology, counseling, and mental health issues are confirmed. With this information, mental health workers can be better equipped to serve the Adventist community. The conclusions gleaned from this study can also serve as a catalyst for beginning a dialogue among the Adventist church leadership to understand how they can better support the congregants who have mental health needs.

Subject Area

Psychology--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Counseling--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Mental health--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists.

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