Literature Review On My Senior Thesis, How Does Religion Impact Mental Well Being? Senior Thesis Essay

2331 words - 10 pages

Running header: RELIGION & MENTAL HEALTH 1
Victoria Means
Stillman College
“How does religion impact mental well-being?”
Religion and Mental Health
Review of Literature
In some religions, there are underlying beliefs related health issues in general. For
example, in the Hindu religion illness is a manifestation of a spiritual problem or a spiritual inadequacy. While this belief may not be an overt in Christian faith, there is evidence to support that religious beliefs relate highly to one’s perception of health, wellness and illness (Behere, Das, Yadav, & Behere, 2013). There are many instances cited in the Bible that seem to directly relate to mental health problems and the relationship of these problems to evil possession and trance-like states. As such, perceptions of mental health in many religions, such as Christianity, lead to followers questioning what sin caused a particular problem of the mind. For those religions where followers have a more positive understanding of mental illness, prayer can be used as a positive treatment for the illness (Behere, Das, Yadav, & Behere, 2013).
Historically, religion has always been seen as a positive factor in mental health treatment.
Some of the earliest groups that treated people suffering from mental health problems had a strong basis in religion (Koenig & Larson, 2001). Catholicism is no different. There are many early representations of religion and mental health treatments or at the very least sympathetic portrayals of people suffering with mental illness. With the onset of modern psychology, there was a shift from a positive view of religion to a more negative skeptical view of the relationship between religion and mental health. When using a medical model to treat mental health problems, it may be difficult to overcome the persisting negative view of religion by the contemporary psychological community (Koenig & Larson, 2001). While many people consider themselves religious, some individuals uphold their religion principles more rigorously than others. Those who feel they have “failed” their religion tends to suffer anxiety and depression outside of the normal range. Individuals who upheld the tenants of their own religious beliefs fared better on measures of mental health. This suggests that religion may be an effective promotor of good mental health when an individual is devout in his/her religious beliefs and practices (Moore, 2017).
In the previous twenty years, there has been expanding consideration given to the connections between different measurements of religiosity and emotional well-being. At this point, a few thousand investigations have exhibited a positive relationship between religiosity and emotional well-being. These studies show individuals who are more religious report better emotional well-being (Flannelly 2017). By far, most researchers have concentrated on religious participation and convictions among North American Christians. To date, stud...


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