Publication Date

2009-08-26

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2009-05-11

First Committee Member

Amy G. Weisman de Mamani - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Stephen Sapp - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Terrence Hill - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Edward Rappaport - Committee Member

Fifth Committee Member

Kristin Lindahl - Committee Member

Abstract

While research on religion and severe psychopathology is mixed, the majority of evidence suggests that greater religiosity and greater use of religious forms of coping relate to beneficial psychosocial outcomes for both patients with schizophrenia (Huguelet et al., 2006; Moss et al., 2006) and their family members (Pearce et al., 2006; Roff et al., 2004). However, this data is generally cross-sectional. To date, scant research has longitudinally examined how religious beliefs and practices relate to key indicators of psychosocial outcomes for patients with schizophrenia and their relatives. This study used a White and Hispanic sample of 41 patients with schizophrenia and 57 relatives of such patients to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal links between religion and mental health. Results showed that increases in the use of religious forms of coping over time significantly predicted decreases in emotional distress for family members. Results also supported the hypothesis that greater positive and lessor negative forms of religious coping would relate to beneficial outcomes for patients and family members. Lastly, this study found that, for patients, ethnicity appeared to moderate the link between religiosity and outcome. Findings from this study highlight the importance of religion to patients and caregivers coping with schizophrenia. Clinicians treating patients with schizophrenia and their loved ones are cautiously encouraged to explore religion with their clients, with particular attention to its differential influence among patients versus relatives and among Whites versus Hispanics.

Keywords

Schizophrenia; Religion; Family; Treatment

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