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Clergy Attitudes About Ways to Support the Mental Health of Sexual and Gender Minorities

Abstract

This pilot study explored clergy members’ attitudes about ways to support the mental health needs of sexual and gender minorities (SGM; e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people). Participants (N = 86, 46% female, 26% SGMs) were US clergy members from a variety of religious faiths but mostly were leaders in Christian faith communities in the greater Chicago area. Clergy participants completed quantitative and qualitative items asking what types of resources (e.g., workshops, websites, consultations, or testimonies) and delivery format (online or in-person) they perceived as most helpful in supporting the mental health of SGM members in their faith communities. The results demonstrated that clergy members found all listed resources to be helpful to varying degrees, although suicide and homelessness prevention were prioritized above other resources. Clergy members also prioritized resources related to supporting gender minorities to be more informative, relative to resources for supporting sexual minorities. Finally, clergy member preferred information to be delivered in-person instead of online. The degree of openness to LGBTQ health promotion resources did not vary by clergy religious denomination.

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Correspondence to Daniel B. Raedel.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The Institutional Review Board at Adler University approved the study. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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This study was funded by a faculty development grant awarded to Joshua Wolff, from Adler University.

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Appendix

Appendix

Open-Ended Questions

  1. 1.

    What role, if any, do you think faith communities should play in helping people who have concerns about their gender identity or sexual orientation?

  2. 2.

    How could mental health professionals or academic researchers better support your ability to help people in your place of worship who may have concerns related to their gender identity or sexual orientation?

  3. 3.

    Is there anything that we did not ask you about that you think would be important to know about your beliefs regarding (a) members of the LGBTQ community or (b) people who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity?

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Raedel, D.B., Wolff, J.R., Davis, E.B. et al. Clergy Attitudes About Ways to Support the Mental Health of Sexual and Gender Minorities. J Relig Health 59, 3227–3246 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-020-01033-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-020-01033-4

Keywords

  • Religion
  • Community health
  • Prevention
  • Transgender
  • Gay & lesbian