The Role of Structure Versus Individual Agency in Churches' Responses to HIV/AIDS: A Case Study of Baltimore City Churches

Shayna D. Cunningham, Deanna L. Kerrigan, Clea A. McNeely, Jonathan M. Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the activities of churches in Baltimore, Maryland, concerning the issues of sexuality, whether they potentially stigmatize persons with or at risk for HIV/AIDS, and to what extent individual agency versus institutional forces influence churches in this regard. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 leaders from 16 churches and analyzed using a grounded theory methodology. Although many churches were involved in HIV/AIDS-related activities, the content of such initiatives was sometimes limited due to organizational constraints. Church leaders varied, however, in the extent to which they responded in accordance with or resisted these constraints, highlighting the importance of individual agency influencing churches' responses to HIV/AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-421
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

Keywords

  • Faith-based
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Religious studies

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