Influence of Religiosity and Fundamentalism on Attitudes Toward Psychotherapy: Religion Related Barriers to Mental Health Services Utilization
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CitationMatanovic, Irena. 2019. Influence of Religiosity and Fundamentalism on Attitudes Toward Psychotherapy: Religion Related Barriers to Mental Health Services Utilization. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractWhile the level of mental illness in the U.S. population increases year after year, the utilization of professional mental health services is still lagging (SAMHSA, 2017). Influence of some demographic factors (gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education level) on mental health services utilization has been researched. However, research on influence of one important demographic factor, religion, is rather sparse.
A person’s religion influences many aspects of his or her decision making process, and some research suggests that it may also influence how an individual views mental illness and whether and where he or she will seek help for their psychological distress. This research aimed to evaluate whether person’s religion influences their willingness to seek professional mental health treatment and determine specific elements of religion and religiosity that might influence an individual’s psychological help-seeking behaviors.
This research indicates that some aspects of religiosity, such as level of fundamentalism or conservatism of one’s beliefs, perception of antagonism between psychology and religion, and value-disconnect between mental health professionals and religious people correlate negatively with attitudes toward psychotherapy and willingness to seek professional mental help. It also showed that a person’s preference for seeking help for their emotional and mental distress from their religious leaders correlates negatively with attitudes toward professional psychotherapy. This may motivate a religious person to seek help only from religious leaders, who are not always adequately prepared to offer such help. This research suggests that psychology and mental health professionals need to be aware of religious beliefs when designing outreach programs in order to help conservatively religious people be more comfortable in seeking and receiving professional mental health treatment.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365097