Spirituality Predicts Less Compulsive Sexual Behavior While Religiosity Predicts More

Spirituality Predicts Less Compulsive Sexual Behavior While Religiosity Predicts More

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

In a spiritual encounter, all relationships are seen as mirrors of the self, while the heart remains open to freely express and receive love without possessiveness.”― Michael Mirdad

 

Sexual behavior is a very important aspect of human behavior, especially for reproduction. In fact, Sigmund Freud made it a centerpiece of his psychodynamic theory. At its best, it is the glue that holds families and relationships together. But it is a common source of dysfunction and psychosocial problems. Compulsive sexual behavior “encompasses problems with preoccupation with thoughts surrounding sexual behavior, loss of control over sexual behavior, disturbances in relationships due to sexual behavior, and disturbances in affect (e.g., shame) due to sexual behavior.” It is also called sex addiction and hypersexuality. It is chronic and remarkably common affecting 3% to 17% of the population. In addition, it is associated with substance abuse in around half of people with compulsive sexual behavior.

 

Compulsive sexual behavior is looked at as an addiction. Spirituality and religiosity are associated in complex ways with addictions and sexual behavior. There is accumulating research on their relationships. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Compulsive sexual behavior, religiosity, and spirituality: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8987424/ ) Jennings and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the relationships between spirituality and religiosity and compulsive sexual behavior. They identified 46 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that the higher the levels of religiosity the higher the levels of compulsive sexual behavior, especially for problematic pornography use. On the other hand, many studies found that the higher the levels of spirituality the lower the levels of compulsive sexual behavior.

 

The reviewed published research suffered from inconsistent findings and varied methodologies and measurement techniques making the conclusion relatively weak. More and better designed and consistent research is needed. But it appears that religiosity has a different relationship with compulsive sexual behavior than spirituality. Being religious is associated with use of pornography while being spiritual is associated with less compulsive sexual behavior.

 

Religiosity is associated with the beliefs and practices of one’s particular religion, while spirituality is associated with deeper existential issues. Religions mainly teach that sexuality outside of strict boundaries should be suppressed. This suppression may lead to more compulsive sexual behavior rather than less. On the other hand, being truly spiritual may lead to more open mindedness and acceptance of sexuality leading to less problematic behavior.

 

Hence, spirituality predicts less compulsive sexual behavior while religiosity predicts more.

.

 

Originally and naturally, sexual pleasure was the good, the beautiful, the happy, that which united man with nature in general. When sexual feelings and religious feelings became separated from one another, that which is sexual was forced to become the bad, the internal, the diabolical.” ― Wilhelm Reich

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Jennings TL, Lyng T, Gleason N, Finotelli I, Coleman E. Compulsive sexual behavior, religiosity, and spirituality: A systematic review. J Behav Addict. 2021 Dec 31;10(4):854-878. doi: 10.1556/2006.2021.00084. PMID: 34971357; PMCID: PMC8987424.

 

Abstract

Background and aims

In recent years, increasing attention has been given to the relationship between compulsive sexual behavior (CSB), religiosity, and spirituality. This review summarizes research examining the relationship CSB has with religiosity and spirituality, clarifying how these constructs inform the assessment and treatment of this syndrome.

Methods

The present paper reviews research published through August 1, 2021, using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Only studies providing quantitative analyses were included.

Results

This review identified 46 articles, subsuming 59 studies, analyzing the relationship between CSB and religiosity or spirituality. Most studies used cross-sectional designs with samples primarily composed of heterosexual White men and women. Generally, the studies found small to moderate positive relationships between religiosity and CSB. Studies considering the mediating or moderating role of moral incongruence identified stronger, indirect relationships between religiosity and problematic pornography use (PPU), a manifestation of CSB. Few studies examined the association between spirituality and CSB, but those that did either reported negative relationships between indicators of spiritual well-being and CSB or positive relationships between CSB and aspects of spiritual struggles.

Discussion and conclusions

Although research examining CSB and religiosity has flourished, such growth is hampered by cross-sectional samples lacking in diversity. Moral incongruence assists in explaining the relationship between religiosity and PPU, but future research should consider other manifestations of CSB beyond PPU. Attention should also be given to examining other religiosity and spirituality constructs and obtaining more diverse samples in research on CSB, religiosity, and spirituality.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8987424/

 

Religiosity/Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Well-Being in Older Adults

Religiosity/Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Well-Being in Older Adults

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Both religion and spirituality can have a positive impact on mental health. . .  Both religion and spirituality can help a person tolerate stress by generating peace, purpose and forgiveness.” – Luna Greenstein

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. Spirituality has been promulgated as a solution to the challenges of life both in a transcendent sense and in a practical sense. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. The research evidence has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Religiosity/Spirituality and Mental Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9133607/ ) Coelho-Júnior and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the relationship of spirituality and religiosity with the mental health of older adults. They identified 62 published research studies with participants over the age of 60.

 

They report that the published studies found that religiosity/spirituality was associated with significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, and fear of death and significantly higher levels of overall psychological well-being, satisfaction with life, meaning in life, and social relations. These findings are correlative so causation cannot be determined.

 

But it is clear the older people who are religious and/or spiritual are psychologically healthier.

 

religious people live longer, on average, than non-religious people.” – Jeff Levin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Coelho-Júnior, H. J., Calvani, R., Panza, F., Allegri, R. F., Picca, A., Marzetti, E., & Alves, V. P. (2022). Religiosity/Spirituality and Mental Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Frontiers in Medicine, 9, 877213. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2022.877213

 

Abstract

Objectives

The present study investigated the association between religious and spiritual (RS) practices with the prevalence, severity, and incidence of mental health problems in older adults.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies that investigated older adults aged 60+ years and assessed RS using valid scales and questions from valid scales, and mental health according to validated multidimensional or specific instruments. Studies were retrieved from MEDLINE, LILACS, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and AgeLine databases until July 31, 2021. The risk of bias was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale (NOS). A pooled effect size was calculated based on the log odds ratio (OR) and Z-scores. This study is registered on PROSPERO.

Results

One hundred and two studies that investigated 79.918 community-dwellers, hospitalized, and institutionalized older adults were included. Results indicated that high RS was negatively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms, while a positive association was observed with life satisfaction, meaning in life, social relations, and psychological well-being. Specifically, people with high spirituality, intrinsic religiosity, and religious affiliation had a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms. In relation to longitudinal analysis, most studies supported that high RS levels were associated with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and fear of death, as well as better mental health status.

Conclusion

Findings of the present study suggest that RS are significantly associated with mental health in older adults. People with high RS levels had a lower prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as reported greater life satisfaction and psychological well-being, better social relations, and more definite meaning in life. Data provided by an increasing number of longitudinal studies have supported most of these findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9133607/

 

Spirituality May Alter the Brain to Protect Against Major Depression

Spirituality May Alter the Brain to Protect Against Major Depression

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“spirituality or religion may protect against major depression by thickening the brain cortex and counteracting the cortical thinning that would normally occur with major depression.” – Lisa Miller

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. Spirituality has been promulgated as a solution to the challenges of life both in a transcendent sense and in a practical sense. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health.

 

One way that spirituality can have its effects on the individual is by altering the brain. The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity.  Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread area. and have found that meditation practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits. So, religion and spirituality may be associated with changes in the nervous system associated with better mental health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Altruism and “love of neighbor” offer neuroanatomical protection against depression. Psychiatry research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8672211/ ) Miller and colleagues reanalyzed longitudinal data obtained from individuals at risk for major depression and matched normal participants. At 30 and 35 years of age the participants brains were scanned with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and the participants completed measures of major depressive disorder, level of depression and spirituality including measures of altruism, love thy neighbor as self, interconnectedness, contemplative practice, and commitment to religion/spirituality.

 

They found that the low risk of depression group had significantly greater cortical thickness in the Ventral Frontotemporal Network (VFTN), in comparison to the high-risk group. The VFTN had been previously shown to be associated with spiritual experience. They also found that in the at-risk for major depression group the greater the cortical thickness in the VFTN the lower levels of depression and the lower the risk of developing major depressive disorder. Across all participants, the higher the spirituality measures of altruism and love thy neighbor as self the greater the cortical thickness in the VFTN. In addition, in the high-risk group, the higher the levels of the spirituality measure of love thy neighbor as self the lower the levels of depression and the lower the risk of developing major depressive disorder.

 

The results demonstrate that the thickness of the Ventral Frontotemporal Network (VFTN) is associated with lower levels of depression and risk of major depressive disorder. In addition, thee results suggest that for people with a high risk of developing major depressive disorder spirituality particularly in the of altruism and love thy neighbor as self categories is associated with protection of the cortical areas from deterioration and this in turn is associated with lower depression and risk of major depressive disorder.

 

These results suggest that spirituality is associated protection from depression by protecting the brain particularly in people at high risk of developing major depressive disorder. These are correlative results, so it is not possible to determine causation. Future research needs to determine if promotion of spirituality, perhaps by training in contemplative practices, might produce neuroplastic changes in the brain and protect against the development of major depressive disorder.

 

So, spirituality may alter the brain to protect against major depression.

 

there is neurobiological basis of spirituality and depression risk. It is unlikely to be harmful, and may very well help to steer the religious depressed patient to more spiritual contemplation, and the non-religious one to more meditation and reflection.” – Emily Deans

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Miller, L., Wickramaratne, P., Hao, X., McClintock, C. H., Pan, L., Svob, C., & Weissman, M. M. (2021). Altruism and “love of neighbor” offer neuroanatomical protection against depression. Psychiatry research. Neuroimaging, 315, 111326. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2021.111326

 

Abstract

We prospectively investigate protective benefits against depression of cortical thickness across nine regions of a Ventral Frontotemporal Network (VFTN), previously associated with spiritual experience. Seventy-two participants at high and low risk for depression (Mean age 41 years; 22–63 years; 40 high risk, 32 low risk) were drawn from a three-generation, thirty-eight year study. FreeSurfer estimated cortical thickness over anatomical MRIs of the brain (Year 30) for each of the nine ROIs. Depression (MDD with SAD-L; symptoms with PHQ; Years 30 and 38) and spirituality (self-report on five phenotypes; Year 35), respectively, were associated with the weighted average of nine regions of interest. VFTN thickness was: 1) positively associated (p<0.01) with two of five spiritual phenotypes, altruism and love of neighbor, interconnectedness at a trend level, but neither commitment nor practice, 2) inversely associated with a diagnosis of MDD (SADS-L Year 30, for any MDD in the past ten years), and 3) prospectively neuroanatomically protective against depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 Year 38) for those at high familial risk.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8672211/

 

Spirituality is Associated with Awe/Gratitude and Well-Being during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Spirituality is Associated with Awe/Gratitude and Well-Being during the Covid-19 Pandemic

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic . . . spirituality and religious practices are a protective factor connected not only with psychological and mental but also physical health.” – Ilaria Coppola

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Perhaps, then, spirituality can be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Awe/Gratitude as an Experiential Aspect of Spirituality and Its Association to Perceived Positive Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095710/ ) Büssing and colleagues recruited adults online during the Covid-19 pandemic and had them complete online measures of awe/gratitude, perception of changes, well-being, life satisfaction, perception of burden, spirituality, and physical activities.

 

They found that Awe/Gratitude was associated with higher levels of frequency of meditation practice, female gender, life satisfaction and well-being, faith as a stronghold, and life reflection because of the pandemic and lower levels of perceived burden. Well-being was found to be significantly associated with higher life satisfaction, nature/silence/contemplation, and awe/gratitude and with lower perceived burden. A mediation analysis revealed that awe/gratitude mediated the associations between nature/silence/contemplation and well-being, between well-being and relationships, and between well-being and reflections.

 

These findings must be interpreted cautiously as they were correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But they demonstrated that perceptions of awe followed by feelings of gratitude during the Covid-19 pandemic were higher in people who were religions, meditated frequently, and with religious backgrounds. But awe/gratitude did not moderate the negative consequences of the pandemic but rather appear to be associated with higher levels of the positive aspects of life including spirituality. Awe/gratitude itself is a component of spiritual awareness and is promoted by spiritual practices such as meditation and it appears to be associated higher levels of well-being even in the face of a pandemic.

 

So, spirituality is associated with awe/gratitude and well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“One wonders if social distancing might become the new normal, so scheduling time for spiritual life-building can become part of the change of filling the void of loneliness.” – William Creech

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Büssing, A., Rodrigues Recchia, D., Dienberg, T., Surzykiewicz, J., & Baumann, K. (2021). Awe/Gratitude as an Experiential Aspect of Spirituality and Its Association to Perceived Positive Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 642716. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.642716

 

Abstract

Background: While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of almost all people worldwide, many people observed also positive changes in their attitudes and behaviors. This can be seen in the context of posttraumatic growth. These perceived changes refer to five main categories: Nature/Silence/Contemplation, Spirituality, Relationships, Reflection on life, and Digital media usage. A previous study with persons recruited in June 2020 directly after the lockdown in Germany showed that the best predictors of these perceived changes related to the Corona pandemic were the ability to mindfully stop and pause in distinct situations, to be “spellbound at the moment” and to become “quiet and devout,” indicating moments of wondering awe, with subsequent feelings of gratitude. Now, we intended to analyze (1) by whom and how strongly awe/gratitude was experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) how these feelings relate to perceived changes and experienced burden, and (3) whether or not feelings of awe/gratitude contribute to participants’ well-being or may buffer perceived burden in terms of a resilience factor.

Methods: Online survey with standardized questionnaires [i.e., WHO-Five Well-being Index (WHO5), Life satisfaction (BMLSS), Awe/Gratitude scale (GrAw-7), and Perceived Changes Questionnaire (PCQ)] among 2,573 participants (68% women; mean age 48.7 ± 14.2 years, 74% with a Christian affiliation) from Germany recruited between June and November 2020.

Results: Awe/Gratitude scored significantly higher particularly among women (Cohen’s d = 0.40), older persons (d = 0.88), persons who rely on their faith as a “stronghold in difficult times” (d = 0.99), those with higher well-being (d = 0.70), and lower perceptions of loneliness (d = 0.49). With respect to perceived changes during the pandemic, more intense feelings of Awe/Gratitude were particularly related to Nature/Silence/Contemplation (r = 0.41), Spirituality (r = 0.41), and Relationships (r = 0.33). Regression analyses revealed that the best predictors of Awe/Gratitude (R2 = 0.40) were the frequency of meditation, female gender, life satisfaction and well-being, faith as a stronghold, and perceived burden and also life reflection, while Nature/Silence/Contemplation and Relationships had a further, but weaker, impact on Awe/Gratitude as a dependent variable. Awe/Gratitude was moderately associated with well-being (r = 0.32) and would predict 9% of participants’ well-being variance. The best predictors of participants’ well-being were multidimensional life satisfaction and low perceived burden (related to the pandemic), and further Awe/Gratitude and Nature/Silence/Contemplation; these would explain 47% of variance in well-being scores. However, Awe/Gratitude cannot be regarded as a buffer of the negative aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it is only marginally (though negatively) related to perceived burden (r = −0.15). Mediation analysis showed that Awe/Gratitude mediates 42% of the link between well-being as a predictor on Nature/Silence/Contemplation as an outcome and has a direct effect of β = 0.15 (p < 0.001) and an indirect effect of β = 0.11 (p < 0.001). Further, Awe/Gratitude mediates 38% (p < 0.001) of the link between Nature/Silence/Contemplation as a predictor on well-being as the outcome; the direct effect is β = 0.18 (p < 0.001), and the indirect effect is β = 0.11 (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The general ability to experience Awe/Gratitude particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic may sensitize to perceive the world around (including nature and concrete persons) more intensely, probably in terms of, or similar to, posttraumatic growth. As this awareness toward specific moments and situations that deeply “touch” a person was higher in persons with more intense meditation or prayer practice, one may assume that these practices may facilitate these perceptions in terms of a training. However, the experience of Awe/Gratitude does not necessarily buffer against adverse events in life and cannot prevent perceived burden due to the corona pandemic, but it facilitates to, nevertheless, perceive positive aspects of life even within difficult times. As Awe/Gratitude is further mediating the effects of Nature/Silence/Contemplation on well-being, intervention programs could help to train these perceptions, as these self-transcendent feelings are also related to prosocial behaviors with respectful treatment of others and commitment to persons in needs, and well-being.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095710/

 

Placebo Effects are Strong in Research on the Effects of Psychedelic Drugs

Placebo Effects are Strong in Research on the Effects of Psychedelic Drugs

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“in the right context, some people may experience psychedelic-like effects from placebos alone.” – Science News

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny. The setting in which psychedelic drugs are taken in the real world varies widely and there is little research on the effects of these settings on the experiences and their effects. The settings can set up strong participant expectancy (placebo) effects and there has been little research on the extent to which placebo effects can account for the reported benefits of psychedelic drug administration.

 

In today’s Research News article “A placebo-controlled study of the effects of ayahuasca, set and setting on mental health of participants in ayahuasca group retreats.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233273/ ) Uthaug and colleagues recruited adults attending a ayahuasca retreat where they repeatedly ingested ayahuasca. At one point in the retreat the participants were randomly administered either ayahuasca or a placebo in a capsule form. They were measured before and the morning after the test session for empathy, ego dissolution, altered states of consciousness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, somatization, and mindfulness.

 

They found that following both ayahuasca  or the placebo there were significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. The groups did not differ in ego dissolution. For the altered states of consciousness measures the ayahuasca group had higher levels of oceanic boundlessness, visual restructuralization, and insightfulness. But only insightfulness was significantly greater for the ayahuasca group compared to the placebo group.

 

These findings suggest that the psychological and altered states of consciousness effects of ayahuasca may be due to placebo effects. The study, however, was small with only 14 and 16 participants in the ayahuasca and placebo groups respectively. This provided only modest statistical power. There were a number of marginal effects which may have been significant had larger groups been used. In addition, the participants had repeated exposure to ayahuasca in the retreat environment prior to the placebo controlled test. This provided considerable conditioning that may explain the responses to the placebo.

 

The study, though, raises the question as to how much are the reported significant responses to psychedelic drugs due to participant expectancy (placebo) effects. Placebo effects can be quite powerful. Obviously, much more research is needed, particularly with larger numbers of participants and with the first administration of the psychedelic.

 

So, placebo effects may be strong in research on the effects of psychedelic drugs.

 

Microdosing is the practice of regularly using low doses of psychedelic drugs. Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing enhances well-being and cognition; however . . . benefits of microdosing can be explained by the placebo effect.” – Balázs Szigeti

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Uthaug, M. V., Mason, N. L., Toennes, S. W., Reckweg, J. T., de Sousa Fernandes Perna, E. B., Kuypers, K., van Oorsouw, K., Riba, J., & Ramaekers, J. G. (2021). A placebo-controlled study of the effects of ayahuasca, set and setting on mental health of participants in ayahuasca group retreats. Psychopharmacology, 238(7), 1899–1910. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-021-05817-8

 

Abstract

Ayahuasca is a plant concoction containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and certain β-carboline alkaloids from South America. Previous research in naturalistic settings has suggested that ingestion of ayahuasca can improve mental health and well-being; however, these studies were not placebo controlled and did not control for the possibility of expectation bias. This naturalistic observational study was designed to assess whether mental health changes were produced by ayahuasca or by set and setting. Assessments were made pre- and post-ayahuasca sessions in 30 experienced participants of ayahuasca retreats hosted in the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany. Participants consumed ayahuasca (N = 14) or placebo (N = 16). Analysis revealed a main effect of time on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Compared to baseline, symptoms reduced in both groups after the ceremony, independent of treatment. There was a main treatment × time interaction on implicit emotional empathy, indicating that ayahuasca increased emotional empathy to negative stimuli. The current findings suggest that improvements in mental health of participants of ayahuasca ceremonies can be driven by non-pharmacological factors that constitute a placebo response but also by pharmacological factors that are related to the use of ayahuasca. These findings stress the importance of placebo-controlled designs in psychedelic research and the need to further explore the contribution of non-pharmacological factors to the psychedelic experience.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233273/

 

Spiritual Well-Being Predicts Psychological Well-Being

Spiritual Well-Being Predicts Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Spiritual wellbeing means the ability to experience and integrate meaning and purpose in life through a person’s connectedness with self, others art, music, literature, nature, or a power greater than oneself.” – Ritika Srivastava

 

There is a lot of pressure on university students to excel. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. This suggests that student spirituality may be associated with their psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Cross-sectional study of the relationship between the spiritual wellbeing and psychological health among university Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8049307/ ) Leung and colleagues recruited university students and had them complete measures of spiritual well-being, including measures of personal and communal, environmental, and transcendental well-being, depression, anxiety, and perceived stress.

 

They found that the higher the levels of spiritual well-being, including measures of personal and communal, environmental, and transcendental well-being, the lower the levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress. They also found that participants who indicated that they had religious beliefs had higher levels of depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and spiritual well-being.

 

These findings are correlational and as such no conclusions regarding causation can be reached. The fact that spiritual well-being was higher in students with religious beliefs but depression, anxiety, and perceived stress were higher suggests that the results were not due to a causal connection. In this case having higher spiritual well-being was not associated with better psychological well-being. Nevertheless, the results clearly show that spiritual well-being is highly related to higher levels of psychological well-being The results also suggest that religiosity is related to poorer psychological well-being. There are no data on the reasons for the relationships but perhaps reverse causation is involved such that higher levels of psychological distress may reduce students’ psychological well-being and prompt them to seek out religion.

 

So, spiritual well-being predicts psychological well-being.

 

whole health requires care and attention for not only your physical body but also your mind and spirit. The benefits of spiritual well-being are numerous – from more compassionate relationships to a deeper sense of inner peace. – Advent Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Leung, C. H., & Pong, H. K. (2021). Cross-sectional study of the relationship between the spiritual wellbeing and psychological health among university Students. PloS one, 16(4), e0249702. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249702

 

Abstract

University students’ spiritual wellbeing has been shown to be associated with quality, satisfaction, and joy of life. This study tested the relationship between spiritual wellbeing and symptoms of psychological disorders (i.e., depression, anxiety and stress) among Chinese university students in Hong Kong. Cross-sectional data were collected from N = 500 students (aged 17–24; 279 women). The participants were asked to complete the Spiritual Health and Life-Orientation Measure (SHALOM) to evaluate the status of their spiritual wellbeing in the personal and communal, environmental, and transcendental domains, and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) to assess their emotional states of depression, anxiety and stress. All domains of spiritual wellbeing were negatively associated with psychological distress. Hierarchical Multiple Regression showed that together the three domains of spirituality explained 79.9%, 71.3% and 85.5% of the variance in students’ depression, anxiety and stress respectively. The personal and communal domain of spiritual wellbeing was the strongest predictor of psychological distress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8049307/

 

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Produce Long-Term Improvements in Psychological Well-Being

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Produce Long-Term Improvements in Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Awe may be a critically important emotional experience during psychedelic treatment in generating compassion, empathy, and overall well-being” – Eve Ekman

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. People find these experiences extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression. Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny.

 

In today’s Research News article “Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277190/ ) Mans and colleagues recruited adults who were planning on having a psychedelic experience and had them complete a questionnaire before and after the experience and 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after measuring well-being, depression, self-esteem, life orientation, emotional stability, meaning in life, acceptance, resilience, mindfulness, social connectedness, gratitude, spiritual transcendence, Spiritual and Religious Attitudes in Dealing with Illness, trust, and compassion and after the experience only Challenging Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), and the Emotional Breakthrough.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after the psychedelic experiences there were significant improvements in all measures except spirituality that were maintained over follow-up. Factor analysis revealed three clusters of measures labelled as being well, staying well, and spirituality. They found that after the psychedelic experiences there were large significant improvements in being and staying well that were still present 2 years later.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, condition present and that the participants self-selected to engage in psychedelic experiences. Hence, a myriad of confounding alternative explanations for the findings abound, particularly participant expectancy effects (placebo effects). So, great caution must be exercised in drawing conclusions regarding the effects of psychedelic drugs. But placebo effects are generally transitory and don’t last over substantial periods of time and the present improvements lasted for at least 2 years, making it unlikely that confounding variable explanations are viable.

 

It is interesting that spirituality was not affected as psychedelic drugs have been employed throughout history as a part of spiritual development. It is possible that the context of spiritual ceremony is essential for the effects of psychedelic drugs being interpreted as spiritual effects.

 

The results of the present study suggest that people who engage in psychedelic experiences have profound improvements in their well-being that are sustained for at least 2 years. The magnitude and duration of the effects may explain why psychedelics have such profound effects on people with mental illnesses producing relief of symptoms and appear to be safe and effective treatments for mental illnesses.

 

So, psychedelic drug experiences produce long-term improvements in psychological well-being.

 

use of psychedelic substances in a naturalistic setting is associated with experiences of personal transformation, a sense of altered moral values, increased feelings of social connectedness, and a more positive mood.” – Matthias Forstmann

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mans, K., Kettner, H., Erritzoe, D., Haijen, E., Kaelen, M., & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2021). Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 647909. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.647909

 

Abstract

In the last 15 years, psychedelic substances, such as LSD and psilocybin, have regained legitimacy in clinical research. In the general population as well as across various psychiatric populations, mental well-being has been found to significantly improve after a psychedelic experience. Mental well-being has large socioeconomic relevance, but it is a complex, multifaceted construct. In this naturalistic observational study, a comprehensive approach was taken to assessing well-being before and after a taking a psychedelic compound to induce a “psychedelic experience.” Fourteen measures of well-being related constructs were included in order to examine the breadth and specificity of change in well-being. This change was then analysed to examine clusters of measures changing together. Survey data was collected from volunteers that intended to take a psychedelic. Four key time points were analysed: 1 week before and 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after the experience (N = 654, N = 315, N = 212, and N = 64, respectively). Change on the included measures was found to cluster into three factors which we labelled: 1) “Being well”, 2) “Staying well,” and 3) “Spirituality.” Repeated Measures Multivariate Analysis of Variance revealed all but the spirituality factor to be improved in the weeks following the psychedelic experience. Additional Mixed model analyses revealed selective increases in Being Well and Staying Well (but not Spirituality) that remained statistically significant up to 2 years post-experience, albeit with high attrition rates. Post-hoc examination suggested that attrition was not due to differential acute experiences or mental-health changes in those who dropped out vs. those who did not. These findings suggest that psychedelics can have a broad, robust and sustained positive impact on mental well-being in those that have a prior intention to use a psychedelic compound. Public policy implications are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277190/

 

Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

And if a person is religious, I think it’s good, it helps you a bit. But if you’re not, at least you can have the sense that there is a condition inside you which looks at the stars with amazement and awe.” Maya Angelou

 

Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth, well-being, and mental health. Spirituality can also promote the occurrence of wondering awe which are emotional reactions to touching experiences. Wondering awe can induce internal changes in the individual. So, it is important to examine the relationships of wondering awe, spirituality, and well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Büssing and colleagues recruited adult participants online and had them complete measures of Awe and Gratitude, spiritual experiences, well-being, and frequency of meditation and prayer. A separate group of participants wrote descriptions of situations where they experienced moments of wondering awe.

 

They found that women had significantly more experiences of awe than the men and older participants had more than younger participants. Christians had higher scores than non-religious participants but less than other denominations. They also found that the greater the frequency of awe the higher the well-being of the participants and the greater experiences of the sacred in daily life. The participants with the highest frequencies of awe were older, had the greater frequencies of spiritual practices, and the highest well-being and were more likely to meditate than pray. The descriptions of experiences of awe and gratitude were used to identify the triggers that elicited the experiences, and these were nature, persons, unique moments, and aesthetics, beauty, and devotion.

 

These findings are correlative. So, no conclusions about causation can be definitively reached. But it is clear that these experiences of wonderous awe and gratitude most often occur in women, older individuals, and those with religious orientations and they were associated with the individual’s well-being and experiences of the sacred. They were most often triggered by environmental conditions.

 

It is important to study these emotionally touching moments of awe and gratitude as they are associated with inner change in the individual. They can trigger new attitudes, insights, and behaviors. Importantly, they are associated with the person’s overall well-being. Future research might attempt to trigger more experiences of wonderous awe by immersing participants in the situations that tend to elicit awe and gratitude and examine their impact on the individual’s health, well-being, and spirituality.

 

So, emotionally touching moments of wonderous awe promotes wellbeing.

 

We can all experience feelings of awe as we ponder how everything that we witness is created and aligned in such a way that our lives unfold the way they do.” – K. Barrett

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Büssing A (2021) Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers. Front. Psychol. 12:738770. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770

 

Background: Spirituality is a multidimensional construct which includes religious, existentialistic, and relational issues and has different layers such as faith as the core, related attitudes and conviction, and subsequent behaviors and practices. The perceptive aspects of spirituality such as wondering awe are of relevance for both, religious and non-religious persons. These perceptions were related to perceiving the Sacred in life, mindful awareness of nature, others and self, to compassion, meaning in life, and emotional wellbeing. As awe perceptions are foremost a matter of state, it was the aim (1) to empirically analyze the frequency of wondering awe perceptions (i.e., with respect to gender, age cohorts, religious or non-religious persons) and (2) to qualitatively analyze a range of triggers of awe perceptions.

Methods: Data from 7,928 participants were analyzed with respect to the frequency of Awe/Gratitude perceptions (GrAw-7 scale), while for the second part of the study responses of a heterogeneous group of 82 persons what caused them to perceive moments of wondering awe were analyzed with qualitative content analysis techniques.

Results: Persons who experience Awe/Gratitude to a low extend were the youngest and had lowest wellbeing and lowest meditation/praying engagement, while those with high GrAw-7 scores were the oldest, had the highest wellbeing, and were more often meditating or praying (p<0.001). Gender had a significant effect on these perceptions, too (Cohen’s d=0.32). In the qualitative part, the triggers can be attributed to four main categories, Nature, Persons, Unique Moments, and Aesthetics, Beauty, and Devotion. Some of these triggers and related perceptions might be more a matter of admiration than wondering awe, while other perceptions could have more profound effects and may thus result in changes of a person’s attitudes and behaviors.

Conclusion: Emotionally touching experiences of wondering awe may result in feelings of interconnectedness, prosocial behavior, mindful awareness, and contribute to a person’s meaning in life and wellbeing and can also be a health-relevant resource. These perceptions can be seen as a perceptive aspect of spirituality, which is not exclusively experienced by religious people but also by non-religious persons.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“psychedelics have profound cognitive, emotional, and social effects that inspired the development of cultures and religions worldwide.” – Michael J. Winkelman

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings, a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm. It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever.

 

It is not known why the use of psychedelic substances have been so widely used throughout human evolution. Natural selection suggests that the use of these substances must confer some adaptive advantage, or their use would have ceased. What exactly are those advantages is a source of active debate in the scientific community. In today’s Research News article “Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Arce and colleagues provide an evidence backed theoretical argument regarding the role of psychedelic substances in the evolution of humankind.

 

There is substantial evidence that early hominids routinely ingested fungi including mushroom that contained psychedelic substances. Early recorded history includes description of psychedelic uses in Mesoamerican societies. Indeed, psychedelic use has been recorded in early societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, South America, Artic and Subarctic, and Central America. This suggests that there must be some instrumental effect of these substances that enhances the survival of humans.

 

Psilocybin and related psychedelics do not have physically toxic side effects. So, they can be ingested safely. The only evident problem is a change in cognition that could open “the possibility for errors in judgment, false perceptions, distortions, and illusions that could undermine an individual’s capacity for alertness, strategic thinking, and decision-making”. But early humans learned to use these substances in particular circumstances, such as rituals,  where the consequences of altered cognition could be minimized.

 

In their favor, psychedelic substances have been shown to improve coping with stress which was likely high in early hominid development. In addition, psychedelic substances have been used throughout history for the treatment of diseases and in recent years have been found to be effective in promoting recovery from a cancer diagnosis, relieving depression, and even in smoking cessation.

 

Psychedelic substances have traditionally been used in groups particularly around rituals and religious ceremonies which would improve social bonds, group cohesion, and pro-social behavior. This would facilitate social cooperation that was essential for early hominid group survival. Psychedelic substances have also been shown to enhance creative thinking and problem solving which would be of great use in adapting to changing environments.

 

These findings and arguments suggest that ingesting psychedelic substances may have been adaptive for humans increasing their chances of survival and procreation. It seems counterintuitive that ingesting substances that for the short term may make the individual less responsive and capable in the environment could actually improve survival. But that is what psychedelic substances appear to do. In this way ingesting psychedelic substances may be adaptive and thus be promoted in evolution.

 

So, psychedelic drugs are theorized to have aided in human social evolution

 

psychedelic drugs. By simulating the effects of religious transcendence, they mimic states of mind that played an evolutionarily valuable role in making human cooperation possible – and with it, greater numbers of surviving descendants.” – James Carney

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rodríguez Arce JM and Winkelman MJ (2021) Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution. Front. Psychol. 12:729425. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425

 

Our hominin ancestors inevitably encountered and likely ingested psychedelic mushrooms throughout their evolutionary history. This assertion is supported by current understanding of: early hominins’ paleodiet and paleoecology; primate phylogeny of mycophagical and self-medicative behaviors; and the biogeography of psilocybin-containing fungi. These lines of evidence indicate mushrooms (including bioactive species) have been a relevant resource since the Pliocene, when hominins intensified exploitation of forest floor foods. Psilocybin and similar psychedelics that primarily target the serotonin 2A receptor subtype stimulate an active coping strategy response that may provide an enhanced capacity for adaptive changes through a flexible and associative mode of cognition. Such psychedelics also alter emotional processing, self-regulation, and social behavior, often having enduring effects on individual and group well-being and sociality. A homeostatic and drug instrumentalization perspective suggests that incidental inclusion of psychedelics in the diet of hominins, and their eventual addition to rituals and institutions of early humans could have conferred selective advantages. Hominin evolution occurred in an ever-changing, and at times quickly changing, environmental landscape and entailed advancement into a socio-cognitive niche, i.e., the development of a socially interdependent lifeway based on reasoning, cooperative communication, and social learning. In this context, psychedelics’ effects in enhancing sociality, imagination, eloquence, and suggestibility may have increased adaptability and fitness. We present interdisciplinary evidence for a model of psychedelic instrumentalization focused on four interrelated instrumentalization goals: management of psychological distress and treatment of health problems; enhanced social interaction and interpersonal relations; facilitation of collective ritual and religious activities; and enhanced group decision-making. The socio-cognitive niche was simultaneously a selection pressure and an adaptive response, and was partially constructed by hominins through their activities and their choices. Therefore, the evolutionary scenario put forward suggests that integration of psilocybin into ancient diet, communal practice, and proto-religious activity may have enhanced hominin response to the socio-cognitive niche, while also aiding in its creation. In particular, the interpersonal and prosocial effects of psilocybin may have mediated the expansion of social bonding mechanisms such as laughter, music, storytelling, and religion, imposing a systematic bias on the selective environment that favored selection for prosociality in our lineage.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Spirituality is Related to Reduced Depression but Negative Religiosity is Associated with Suicidality

Spirituality is Related to Reduced Depression but Negative Religiosity is Associated with Suicidality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The trouble is that just as it is hard to feel connected to other people while depressed, it is difficult to feel connected to God. A leap of trust and faith is frequently needed to be spiritual while depressed.” – Healthtalk.org

 

Depression and other mood disorders are the number-one risk factor for suicide. More than 90% of people who kill themselves have a mental disorder, whether depression, bipolar disorder or some other diagnosis. So, the best way to prevent suicide may be to treat the underlying cause. For many this means treating depression.

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Spirituality may help to provide meaning and prevent suicide. But there is scant research on the relationship of spirituality and religiosity and suicide.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparison of religiosity and spirituality in patients of depression with and without suicidal attempts.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221206/ ) Dua and colleagues

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies recruited 2 groups of patients both with depression and suicidal ideation and one with an additional suicide attempt. They also recruited age and gender matched healthy control participants. They completed measures of the depression, impulsivity, hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, mania, suicide severity, centrality of religion and spiritual attitudes.

 

They found that the depressed groups did not differ in purpose, hope, and organized, nonorganized religious activities and intrinsic religiosity. On the other hand, patients with suicidal ideation generally had a family history of suicide. Patients who had attempted suicide were significantly higher in hopelessness and suicide ideation and lower on social support than patients who had nor attempted suicide. They also had significantly higher levels of negative religious coping. Compared to the healthy controls the depressed groups were significantly lower in religiosity. They also found that the lower the levels of religiosity the greater the levels of suicidal ideation and the higher the number of suicide attempts. But, in the suicide attempters higher levels of ideological religiosity was associated with greater severity of suicide ideation.

 

These are interesting but correlative findings and as such causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the results suggest that spirituality, although associated with lower depression, is not significantly related to suicide ideation or attempts. On the other hand, negative religious coping, ideological religiosity, and low religiosity were. In other words, being religious, in general is not a problem. But adhering to the ideology or using negative religious coping are associated with suicidality.

 

Negative religious coping involves struggling with religion, questioning, guilt, and perceived distance from and negative views of god. This type of coping does not provide support in times of psychological distress and in fact may exacerbate feelings of hopelessness. Regardless, it appears that non-spiritual uses and ideas about religion and god my be associated with more thoughts about suicide and an increased likelihood of attempting suicide.

 

So, spirituality is related to reduced depression but negative religiosity is associated with suicidality.

 

Whether your depression manifests itself as a loss of appetite, decreased sense of self-worth, lost productivity, feelings of helplessness, prolonged worry or any other symptom, spirituality can absolutely help an individual along their journey toward purpose.” – Pyramid Healthcare

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dua, D., Padhy, S., & Grover, S. (2021). Comparison of religiosity and spirituality in patients of depression with and without suicidal attempts. Indian journal of psychiatry, 63(3), 258–269. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_246_20

 

Abstract

Aim:

This study is aimed to compare the religiosity and spirituality of patients with first-episode depression with suicidal ideation and those with recent suicidal attempts. Additional aim was compare the religiosity and spirituality of patients with first-episode depression with healthy controls.

Methods:

Patients of first episode depression with suicidal ideation and healthy controls were assessed by Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS), Duke University Religion Index (DUREL), Brief Religious coping scale (R-COPE), and Spiritual Attitude Inventory (SAI).

Results:

Patients with depression were divided into two groups based on the presence (n = 53) or absence (n = 62) of suicidal attempts in the previous 14 days. Both the patients with and without suicide attempts were matched for depression severity. Both the patient groups did not differ in terms of religiosity and spirituality as assessed using CRS and SAI. Both depression groups had lower scores on religiosity as compared to healthy controls as assessed on CRS. The two groups also had a lower score on the “sense of hope” which is a part of SAI, when compared to healthy controls. Compared to patients without suicide attempts (i.e., ideators group) and healthy controls, subjects with suicide attempts more often used negative religious coping. Total numbers of lifetime suicide attempts in the attempt group were associated with the ideology domain of the CRS.

Conclusion:

Compared with healthy controls, patients with depression have lower levels of religiosity and spirituality. In the presence of comparable severity of depression, higher use of negative religious coping is associated with suicide attempts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221206/