Religion and Mental Health
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Religion and Mental Health

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This is an interdisciplinary collection of previously unpublished papers on the much-disputed relationship between religious behaviour and mental health. Schumaker has assembled a distinguished international roster of contributors - sociologists and anthropologists as well as psychiatrists and psychologists of religion. Taken together, the papers provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of research in the field, as well as shedding new light on a number of specific topics, subject groups, and interpretive perspectives.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 162.8 x 242.8 x 32mm | 696.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 line drawing, tables
  • 0195069854
  • 9780195069853
  • 2,092,045

Review quote

'This is an extraordinarily ambitious collection of twenty-four papers on the challenging subject of the relationship between religious behaviour and mental health. The editor has skilfully drawn together an international panel of contributors ... to examine the implications of religious belief and practice for mental health ... the book is admirable in its scope and depth ... this is a fascinating and important book and one which British mental health
professionals would do well to read and debate. This book challenges many cliches about religious repression and guilt and I would particularly recommend it for those working in more multiracial, multifaith, urban environments.'
Patricia d'Ardenne, Heythrop Journal 'This is essentially a source and reference book.'
Roland Littlewood, BMAS Newsletter, Summer 1993 'The chapters elucidate widely different aspects of the very intricate connections between religion and mental health. The chapters are well written, ... a great value for psychiatrists,'
Eva Johanson. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 'The chapters are well written ... The reference lists are comprehensive and inviting to further study. The attitude on the whole is strictly objective and scientific, critically evaluating what has been done so far ... I consider this book to be of great value for psychiatrists.'
Eva Johanson, Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 47/6 (1993) "an exceptionally comprehensive collection of essays, authored by leading authorities in the field and destined to be the definitive source book on religion and mental health for years to come."
David Wulff, Psychology, Wheaton College
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Back cover copy

Some argue that religious beliefs foster security of mind and mental stability, maintaining that they offer a sense of hope, meaning, and purpose; provide a reassuring fatalism that enables the believer to better withstand suffering and pain; and give people a sense of power and control through association with an omnipotent force. Others assert, however, that religious beliefs can undermine mental health in ways that include generating excessive levels of guilt, encouraging the unhealthy repression of anger, and creating anxiety and fear with threats of punishment for sinful behavior. This interdisciplinary collection presents previously unpublished papers on the controversial relationship between religious behavior and mental health. Schumaker has assembled a distinguished international roster of contributors - sociologists and anthropologists as well as psychiatrists and psychologists of religion representing a wide range of opinions concerning the mental health implications of religious belief and practice. Taken together, the papers provide a comprehensive overview of theory and research in the field. Included are papers on the interaction of religion and self-esteem, life meaning and well-being, sexual and marital adjustment, anxiety, depression, suicide, psychoticism, rationality, self-actualization, and various patterns of anti-social behavior. Religion is also considered in relation to the mental health of women, the elderly, and children. Contributions addressing mental health in non-Western religious groups add an important cross-cultural dimension to the volume.
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