Baptist senior pastors' knowledge and perceptions of mental illness

Matthew S. Stanford, David Philpott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Senior pastors at churches affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) were anonymously surveyed using an online questionnaire to ascertain their knowledge and perceptions of the causes and potential treatments of mental illness. BGCT senior pastors reported a moderate level of contact with the mentally ill and populations known to have higher than average rates of mental illness (e.g., homeless). They also reported that the individuals with whom they counsel are rarely diagnosed with mental illness. While Baptist senior pastors embraced biological causes and treatments for mental illness as most important and effective, they varied greatly across disorders as to the perceived contribution of psychosocial and spiritual factors. Senior pastors in the present study reported being open to referring their congregants to mental health care professionals with whom they shared common values. Overall, the results of the study point to a need for greater mental health education for Baptist clergy as well as opportunities for the development of increased collaboration between the mental health and faith communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


  • Clergy
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Referral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Baptist senior pastors' knowledge and perceptions of mental illness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this