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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 144-152

Development of a semi-structured instrument to assess religious beliefs and practices in patients with schizophrenia


Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_70_21

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Background: Religion plays an important role in the life of a large proportion of population. Various dimensions of religion and religiosity have not been thoroughly investigated in persons with schizophrenia. Aim: This study aimed to develop a simple instrument to assess various aspects of religiosity, which can influence the assessment and management of schizophrenia and evaluate the same in a group of patients, who are currently in clinical remission. Methodology: A simple semi-structured interview was developed to assess various dimensions of religion relevant to patients with mental illnesses. The questionnaire was administered to 100 patients with schizophrenia. Results: About two-thirds of the patients gave religious and supernatural explanations for their delusions, hallucinations, and other symptoms. More than three-fourth (78%) of patients reported that their religious beliefs influence their intake of the prescribed medications. The majority of the patients believed that God was helping them in dealing with their illness to some extent (29%) or very much (57%). About four-fifth (81%) of the patients attributed their illness to one religious or supernatural etiological cause. About two-fifths (39%) of the patients were first taken to a magico-religious faith healer at the onset of symptoms. In terms of treatment practices along with treatment from the tertiary care center, during the most recent relapse, the majority (82%) of the patients took recourse to at least one of the religious or supernatural modalities. Conclusion: The designed instrument provides a broad coverage of various aspects of religious practices which are prevalent in patients with schizophrenia. The use of this instrument in patients with schizophrenia suggests that religious beliefs and practices influence the type of psychopathology, etiological models about the illness, help seeking, and medication adherence.


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