Pentecostal Christian view toward causes and treatment of mental health disorders

by Harley, Justin L., Ph.D., REGENT UNIVERSITY, 2006, 150 pages; 3248181


Pentecostal Christians hold beliefs that may cause them to underutilize mental health services. This study examined 255 Pentecostal Christians from three different communities across the US regarding their beliefs related to the causes and treatment of mental health disorders. The sample included individuals diverse in ethnicity, age, gender, income, and educational level. The Short Christian Orthodoxy Scale (Hunsburger, 1989), the Pentecostal Christian Beliefs scale, and selected questions from the MacArthur Mental Health Module (Pescosolido et al., 2001) were used to assess the religious beliefs and mental health beliefs of participants. The results of the sample were compared to the results of the General Social Survey of 1996 (Pescosolido et al.), which generated data on Americans' beliefs about mental health disorders. Results indicated that Pentecostal Christians were no more likely than others to blame the cause of mental health disorders on personal factors in the affected individual, such as "bad character" or "the way one was raised." Pentecostal Christians were no less likely than others to believe that mental health disorders are caused by "a chemical imbalance," but were less likely than others to believe that they are caused by "genetics." Pentecostal Christians endorsed "stressful circumstances" as the leading cause for major depressive disorder and "demonic forces" as the leading cause for schizophrenia. For treatment of mental health disorders, Pentecostal Christians were more resistant than others to the use of psychiatric medication. Instead, they preferred spiritual treatment options such as seeking one's pastor, prayer, and Scripture reading. Beliefs about the causes and treatment of mental health disorders differed by demographic factors among Pentecostal Christians.

Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsReligion; Mental health
Publication Number3248181

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