Supportive Relationships with Church Members among African Americans*

By Taylor, Robert Joseph; Lincoln, Karen D. et al. | Family Relations, October 2005 | Go to article overview

Supportive Relationships with Church Members among African Americans*


Taylor, Robert Joseph, Lincoln, Karen D., Chatters, Linda M., Family Relations


Abstract:

This study proposed and tested a model of informal church support networks among African Americans. Consistent with research in family relations, age and gender were significantly associated with the frequency of interaction with church members. In addition, the degree of subjective closeness and the frequency of interaction were both significantly associated with the frequency of receiving support from church members, suggesting that conceptualizations of family solidarity may extend to church networks. Practice implications emphasize the importance of recognizing church members as integral members of the informal networks of African Americans.

Key Words: African Americans, extended family, family solidarity, nonkin network, religion, social support.

Extended family relationships and religion are important aspects of the daily lives of African Americans. Hill's classic monograph (1972) notes that ties with religious and extended kin networks are two major strengths of Black families. In the ensuing 30 years since the publication of Hill's monograph, there has been a tremendous growth in research on extended family relationships, coupled with more limited research on religious participation among Black Americans (Taylor, Chatters, & Levin, 2004). The two bodies of work have intersected in important ways to produce new lines of research investigating the role of church members in informal social support networks (Krause, 2002; Krause, Ellison, & Wulff, 1998; Taylor & Chatters, 1986, 1988). Given the relatively high levels of church attendance among African Americans (Taylor et al.), church networks and their constituent members are likely an important source of informal support on par with family and friendship relationships. Church networks are certainly deserving of serious inquiry, particularly among population groups such as African Americans that evidence high levels of religious involvement.

The purpose of this paper was to investigate a model of the receipt of informal support from church members among African Americans. Informed by the research of Bengtson and colleagues (Bengtson, Olander, & Haddad, 1976; Bengtson & Schraeder, 1982; Silverstein & Bengtson, 1997) on family support networks, the present study proposed and tested a model of church member-based informal social support networks using structural equation modeling techniques and data from a national probability sample of Black Americans.

Literature Review

The role of church members in the informal social support networks of Black Americans is important for several principal reasons. First, churches and religious participation have played a particularly important role in addressing various supportive needs in African American communities through their involvement in health and social welfare initiatives, community organizing, educational development, and civic endeavors (Billingsley, 1999; Lincoln & Mamiya, 1990; Taylor et al., 2004). Ethnographic and historical research indicates that because of the exclusion and disenfranchisement of African Americans from mainstream societal establishments, religious institutions play a pivotal supportive role in Black communities and are responsive to the support needs of individuals and families (Billingsley; Lincoln & Mamiya). These supportive functions are particularly important given persistent low levels of education and income, relatively high rates of poverty, and access barriers to formally organized services (e.g., health) that characterize segments of the African American population.

Research among older Blacks (Taylor & Chatters, 1986) and adult Blacks overall (Taylor & Chatters, 1988) indicate that two-thirds of respondents receive some level of assistance from their church members. Church-based support networks provide a variety of types of assistance, and although the majority of respondents report receiving socioemotional support (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Supportive Relationships with Church Members among African Americans*
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.