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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Attitudes toward domestic violence among a sample of Presbyterian clergy

Karissa D. Horton, MA1, Margaret Vaaler, MA2, and Christopher G. Ellison, PhD2. (1) Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, D3700, Austin, TX 78712, 512.496.5681, karissa@mail.utexas.edu, (2) Department of Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, A1700, Austin, TX 78712

Domestic violence affects the health of our communities. It is a topic of particular concern to public health educators and other community organizations seeking to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence within communities. The local church is a community organization with the potential to positively impact domestic violence through awareness, education, and intervention. As leaders of the church, clergy are a natural source of assistance, counsel, and support for religious individuals as well as members of the local community. Clergy are often the initial source of help that victims of domestic violence turn to; therefore, their attitudes toward domestic violence, as well as their willingness and preparedness to respond in the most effective manner are paramount to successfully attending to the unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of victims of domestic violence. The current study utilizes data from the November 1999 Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) Panel Study on Interpersonal Violence to examine clergy attitudes and theological beliefs toward domestic violence. The study also examines clergy attitudes toward the church's work to prevent interpersonal violence, the preparedness of church leaders to help members who are victims of abuse, and the church's role as an educational resource on interpersonal violence.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) will be able to