US Religious Congregations' Programming to Support Veterans

A Mixed Methods Study

Published in: Journal of Religion and Health, 2015

Posted on RAND.org on November 20, 2015

by Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Ann C. Haas, Laura Werber

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Religious congregations may be well equipped to address veterans' reintegration needs, but little is known about the prevalence and nature of such support. We conducted a mixed methods study using nationally representative congregational survey data and in-depth interviews with congregational leaders. Overall, 28 % of congregations nationally reported having programming to support veterans and positive, independent predictors included: community context (county veteran presence, high-poverty census tract, rural compared to urban location); congregational resources (more adult attendees, having a paid employee that spent time on service programs); and external engagement (assessing community needs, collaboration, and social service participation). Qualitative interviews revealed a range of activities, including attending to spiritual issues, supporting mental, physical and social well-being, and addressing vocational, legal, financial, and material needs.

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