Is spirituality worth exploring in psychiatric out-patient clinics?

Mahmoud Awara, Christopher Fasey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Royal College of Psychiatrists has advocated a collective approach when dealing with psychiatric patients including biological, psychological, social, and spiritual. Ignoring patients' religious and spiritual needs could be perceived as discrimination on basis of race, religion, and ethnicity. Moreover, it may hamper the psychological healing process of the patient. Aims: To explore and measure the spiritual and religious beliefs and their impact, in psychiatric out-patients and to assess the demographic predictors for such beliefs. Furthermore to draw the attention of service providers to the spiritual needs of our patients. Methods: All patients (103) attending psychiatric out-patient service for 3 consecutive months, were approached; 42% of them consented to the study. The Royal Free Interview for Spiritual and Religious Beliefs was employed. Chi-Square test, Kruskal Wallis, and MCE were used to examine the statistical significance of demographic characteristics of patients on their responses, whether from the spiritual or non-spiritual groups. Results: Forty three (42%) patients participated in this study, 77% were females and 23% were males. Fifty percent considered themselves as spiritual, religious, or both, 39% were neither spiritual nor religious, and 12% did not verify themselves. The spiritual and religious patients were significantly older than those who were not spiritual or religious. The impact of spiritual and religious beliefs tends to be positively correlated with age. A majority of 54% felt that their spiritual/religious beliefs improved their coping strategies. In total 50% of our patients felt that their cultural values and beliefs were not taken into consideration by the service. Conclusions: The study highlighted the importance of spiritual and religious beliefs to psychiatric out-patients, which unfortunately was either ignored or trivialized by the service providers and professionals. Declaration of interest: None.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychiatric out-patient
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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