Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Clinical Psychology

Is Religion a Buffer against Psychopathologies?

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Clinical Psychology

Is Religion a Buffer against Psychopathologies?

Article excerpt

Byline: Saima Dawood and Sadaf Naz


Objective: The present research investigated if religion acts as a protective buffer against different psychopathologies.

Research Design: Ex-post facto research design was used in the present research

Place of study: Lahore

Sample and Method: Sixty subjects were taken from different teaching hospitals of Lahore: Jinnah Hospital; Services Hospital; Sir Ganga Ram Hospital; Mayo Hospital with different psychopathologies. They were diagnosed according to DSM-IV-TR and were having single diagnosis. Later, to make a comparison, sixty non-psychiatric subjects were recruited from different areas of Lahore city: Bund Road, Krishan Nagar, Model Town, Faisal Town, Johar Town and Riwaz Garden and both samples were matched on two variables i.e., education and monthly income. Each subject had been examined on both religiosity (Religious Rituals Scale and Religious Beliefs Scale) and for different psychopathologies: Depression; Somatoform; Anxiety and OCD (Symptom Checklist-Revised).

Results: The results revealed that subjects from psychiatric population obtained high scores on psychopathology and relatively low scores on religiosity whereas, subjects from non-psychiatric population obtained low score on psychopathology and high score on religiosity.

Conclusion: On the basis of results, it could be concluded that religiosity acts as a buffer against psychopathologies; therefore, people with greater inclination towards religion have less vulnerability towards psychopathologies.

Key Words: Religiosity; depression; obsessive compulsive disorder; anxiety


The present research was conducted to see if religiosity acts as a protective buffer against different psychopathologies among psychiatric and non-psychiatric participants.

The recent technological and scientific advancements have profound effect upon human life. The constant changing environment and multiple demands and challenges placed on human beings create risk factors for succumbing to the ever present pressures of life. Due to the above mentioned stressors, it is startling to note that emotional disturbances or mental health problems incapacitate more people around the globe today as compared to all other health problems combined . Therefore, there is a dire need to develop new skills and competencies for optimally being able to meet these demands. Religion provides one such mechanism to counter the stress and buffer against emotional problems. Different researchers , have found high frequency of people who used various types of religious coping while experiencing stressful situations. Conway surveyed elderly women, who found that 91% women who had experienced high level of stress endorsed 'prayer' as a coping strategy.

Although, research evidence supports the idea that people use religion as a coping strategy while dealing with stress but still religion cannot be taken as a simple way of coping only, in fact, it's a comprehensive way of viewing and operating within the world. Therefore, Religion cannot be confined to stressful situations, instead it's a part of daily life that includes good times and bad. In addition, it usually includes some kind of relationship with the divine; therefore, it is more compelling than other forms of coping . A number of studies suggest that religion provides important help to patients in coping with physical illness , surgical patients , the bereaved , patients undergoing palliative care and people with work related problems . Those who are religious may experience less psychological morbidity in the face of adverse life events than those who are not religious. Comprehensive reviews suggest that religion has many positive psychological effects , .

Keeping in mind the above mentioned facts about religion, the question arises, is religion a buffer zone against psychopathology? …

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