A comparison of attitudes of clergy and psychologists toward an indigenous Appalachian religious sect
This study investigated the relationship between members of the clergy profession and members of the psychology profession regarding attitudes toward members of an indigenous Appalachian religious sect. The subjects were 51 minister (42 females, 9 males) and 65 psychologists (34 females, 31 males) selected at random from various religious denominations and from the Georgia Psychological Association members list. Subjects completed a demographic questionnaire, as well as a 23 question survey, divided into two sections. The demographic questionnaire examined the personal religious practices of each subject (11 questions). The second section examined attitudes of each subject toward an indigenous religious practice (12 questions). The study showed that psychologists hold a stronger position than clergy that snake handlers are mentally ill. However, both groups only marginally accept the hypothesis. Also, psychologists do not have a lower level of acceptance of members of the snake handling sect than do clergy. Thirdly, the research maintains the hypothesis that psychologists practice their personal religious beliefs less frequently than do members of the clergy. However, members of the clergy do not become more or less tolerant of the examined religious sect as the tenure for the minister increases. Lastly, females in both groups are not more tolerant of snake handlers than male counterparts in this study.
Robert Dale Hopkins,
"A comparison of attitudes of clergy and psychologists toward an indigenous Appalachian religious sect"
ETD Collection for Tennessee State University.