Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2024 Mar 15. Epub ahead of print.

Religion, spirituality and coping among the psychiatric population: a narrative review.

Shoib S, Das S, Gupta AK, Ullah I, Javed S, Nocera A, et al.


Background and aims: The impact of religiosity and spirituality on mental health is still far to be adequately explored. Evidence-based data gathering papers that bring together various perspectives and facets of religion in the mentally ill population is needed. Therefore, we conducted this review to summarise evidence on the subject and raise awareness. Methods: We searched the literature using generic terms for ‘mental health and psychiatry’, ‘beliefs’, ‘religion’, 'religious involvement’, ‘religiosity’, ‘spiritual aspects’, and ‘spirituality’, finally summarising all appropriate references. However, for this narrative revision, we collected papers addressing various perspectives, data, and facets of religion in the mentally ill population, a subject with theoretical and practical implications in mental health. Results: The initial literature search found 21,723 total results: 1,723 from PubMed/Medline and Scopus, and up to 20,000 from Google Scholar, Science Direct, and Web of Science. After removing repetitions and applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, only six studies were included in this review on religion as an adaptive resource, and nine studies on religion, spirituality, and mental health. Conclusions: Evidence-based studies on the topic are still challenging to develop while maintaining a high scientific value. Notwithstanding this, religion and spirituality can have positive/negative clinical implications depending on how they are managed. Indeed, it can reduce suicidal risk, relieve depressive and anxious symptoms, and improve patients’ and caregivers’ coping and resilience. Nevertheless, it can enhance guilt, worsen/generate obsessions, and compulsions in the obsessive-compulsive disorder and determine or associate with mystical-religious delusions in the maniacal phase of bipolar disorder.


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