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Religion and Spirituality in Psychiatry 

Religion and Spirituality in Psychiatry
Chapter:
Religion and Spirituality in Psychiatry
Author(s):

Dan G. Blazer

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190272432.003.0005
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date: 24 May 2020

The empirical study of religion/spirituality and mental health has blossomed in recent years. Reactions to these studies may range from unwarranted enthusiasm to overt rejection given the subject matter. What is called for is a critical appraisal of these studies. In this chapter the author explores four areas of inquiry, providing a critical look at representative studies from each of these areas: participation—attendance at services, participation in activities such as prayer groups or service project; salience—how important is religion/spirituality to you; intervention—comparative efficacy of religious and non-religious cognitive behavioral therapy for depression; and affiliation—mainline, conservative, and Pentecostal Protestant, as well as Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. Investigators and clinicians must look at each study for what it is, neither more nor less, as well as realize that religious faith cannot proved or disproved by such empirical studies.

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