College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Midge Wilson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Beth Catlett, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Patrick Fowler, Ph.D.


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a signific.ant concern within the Black community and, in particular, for Black women. However, IPV is not always identified as a critical issue for the Black community to collectively respond to and/ or adequately address. Without an appropriate support system, many survivors dealing with IPV are left without sufficient resources. The purpose of this study was to conduct an organizational level analysis of the role the urban Black church can play in providing a continuum of supportive services for primarily heterosexual female survivors of IPV in the Black: community. For this study.twenty-five church leaders completed a 75-item online questionnaire, comprised of the Church leadership Attitudes Scale (CLAS), the Sex Role Egalitarianism Scale (SRES), as well as demographic and organizational questions. Three open nded questions were also included in the CLAS to further clarify the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of IPV related services at each church.

Results of this preliminary analysis indicated that Church leader beliefs toward gender roles among men and women may not be associated with the extent of services within various churches. A combination of other factors, including low incidence of reports of IPV, lack of resources to provide services and the need for a more community based approach, may provide a better explanation. As expected, it was established that church leaders with more traditional attitudes toward gender roles were more likely to endorse a more conservative approach when responding to an incident of dome.stic violence. Participants in this study indicated that there were a wide range of service models within Black faith-based institutions, including those with no services to those with violence ministries and established referral systems. Church-based services were targeted at the individual and institutional levels. However, there does appear to be movement toward dedicating more services toward IPV at the institutional level with the inclusion of ministries that specifically address violence and/or IPV. Although more liberal church leaders' identified IPV as a community issue and consider the Black church, Black culture, and the broader society all collectively responsible for the incidence of abuse in the community, few churches provide services at the community level. The results of this preliminary analysis provide an initial glimpse into the multitude of factors that drive service models for IPV in predominately Black churches.