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Friday, July 17, 2015

Religion and Mental Health

Research tells us that religious understanding ("religiosity") on the part of the clinician impacts mental health.
Religiosity is generally:
Your vote was recorded.
A. Beneficial for mental health
57% (123 votes)
B. Harmful for mental health
17% (36 votes)
C. Neither harmful not beneficial for mental health
27% (58 votes)
Total votes: 217

Answer: A. Religiosity has been found to be beneficial for mental health.
Spirituality and religiosity are terms referring to various dimensions of life related to the sacred and divine. Improving religious competence among clinicians is vital if everyday psychiatric care is to become truly person-centered.
Despite findings that indicate that psychiatrists are significantly more likely to be atheists than other physicians and the general population, a well-established body of research indicates a positive association between religiosity and mental health.1,2 Religiosity has consistently been identified as a factor that can promote healing and facilitate recovery amongst those with various physical and mental illnesses.3,4
Religion can provide access to a community of people who can offer material, moral, emotional, and social support.5 This is especially the case for underserved minority populations who find solace in their religiosity, often in the absence of other institutional support.6
For related information, please see “Religious Understanding as Cultural Competence: Issues for Clinicians,” by Rob Whitley, PhD and G. Eric Jarvis, MD, on which this quiz was based.
1. Koenig HG. Research on religion, spirituality, and mental health: a review. Can J Psychiatry. 2009;54:283-291.
2. Koenig HG. Handbook of Religion and Mental Health. San Diego: Academic Press; 1998.
3. Galanter M. Spirituality and the Healthy Mind: Science, Therapy and the Need for Personal Meaning. New York: Oxford University Press; 2005.
4. Levin JS. How religion influences morbidity and health: reflections on natural history, salutogenesis and host resistance. Soc Sci Med. 1996;43:849-864.
5. Durkheim E. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001.
6. Whitley R. “Thank you God”: religion and recovery from dual diagnosis among low-income African Americans. Transcult Psychiatry. 2012;49:87-104.
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