• Religion and spirituality in adults with mental illness

      Goertz, Sherry; Johantgen, Mary E. (2009)
      Background: Religion, which includes components of religiousness and spirituality, is an important dimension of coping for many Americans. However, the breadth and depth of how people use religion as a coping mechanism is not well understood. Little evidence exists as to which religious and spiritual factors are most conducive to health. During the past two decades research has been conducted to examine religious coping (RC) using mostly healthy subjects. While aspects of RC seem to be used by persons with mental illness, few studies have been conducted among this group. Purpose: This study described the prevalence and correlates of RC in US adults, comparing those who have experienced psychiatric disorders with those who have not. Methods: A secondary analysis of the National Co-Morbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R; Kessler & Merikangas, 2003) was conducted. The NCS-R was an extensive investigation of the prevalence and correlates of psychiatric disorders in the United States, the third in a series of population based studies. The study sample consisted of 4818 adults. Principal components of 5 items were analyzed to construct weighted factor based scores as a Measure of Religious Coping (MeRC). Regression analyses through complex samples general linear model provided descriptive correlational findings comparing respondents who have had specific psychiatric disorders (mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance disorders & impulse control disorders) with those who have not. Results: The MeRC represented one factor with strong internal consistency, content and construct validity. The influential demographic correlates of religious coping were gender, race, age, education, and region of the country which showed moderate effects and explained over 11% of the variance. Significant differences in religious coping were confirmed from this nationally representative data in a few of the diagnostic categories of mental illness (i.e. intermittent explosive disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, conduct disorder, nicotine dependence, alcohol abuse and social phobia) after controlling for influential demographics, yet the effect sizes were small. Conclusion: Overall, there was a high prevalence of RC. Having had a mental illness did not have much influence on RC. The study provided evidence that many persons who have had mental illness use RC in ways similar to people who have not had a mental illness.