The Religiosity Gap. Religious and spiritual care needs in clinical mental health care.

Joke van Nieuw Amerongen - Meeuse

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisAcademic

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Mental health is closely related to religious and spiritual wellbeing. Not surprisingly, many mental health patients prefer attention to religion and spirituality (R/S). Several specific R/S interventions seem to contribute to successful treatment. However, in the field of R/S care many things also remain unknown. What are specific R/S care needs among clinical mental health patients for example? And is there any clinical relevance in taking note of what patients prefer in this regard? In the Netherlands – a multifarious country with respect to outlook on life – this topic has scarcely been studied. The current study describes how patients in two mental health care institutions (Eleos and Altrecht) prefer R/S to be addressed and why this might be useful.
Results show that fourteen types of R/S care needs can be divided in three groups: 1) a similar outlook on life, 2) R/S conversations, 3) attention to R/S in program and recovery. Some patients have no troubles in addressing R/S issues during treatment, but others have, especially when they experience a lot of R/S struggles. This may contribute to the presence of unmet R/S care needs. R/S care needs that remain relatively often unanswered are: ‘explanation about R/S and illness by my practitioner’, ‘conversations about religious distress with a nurse’, and ‘contact between my practitioner and chaplain.’ Patients who are satisfied with R/S care report a better treatment alliance. Conversely, compared with other patients, those who are dissatisfied with it, report a lower treatment alliance. Additionally, when patients over a period of six months remain dissatisfied with R/S care, a slight decrease in compliance seems to be present, whereas patients who remain satisfied in this respect report increasing compliance.
All in all, the current study offers various insights into ways of integrating R/S in clinical mental health care. The quantitative R/S care needs questionnaire could be used for training and professional development. Furthermore its use in clinical mental health care could be studied. Future studies may focus on the possibilities of integrating R/S struggles in treatment as well as on examining possible benefits of giving structural attention to R/S in clinical mental health care.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Humanistic Studies
  • Braam, Arjan W., Supervisor
  • Anbeek, C. W., Supervisor
Award date9 Jul 2021
Print ISBNs978-90-831496-4-6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021

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