Demon or disorder: A survey of attitudes toward mental illness in the Christian church

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56 Scopus citations


The present study assessed the attitudes and beliefs that mentally ill Christians encountered when they seek counsel from the church. Participants (n = 293) completed an anonymous online survey in relation to their interactions with the church. Analysis of the results found that while a majority of the mentally ill participants were accepted by the church, approximately 30% reported a negative interaction. Negative interactions included abandonment by the church, equating mental illness with the work of demons, and suggesting that the mental disorder was the result of personal sin. Analysis of the data by gender found that women were significantly more likely than men to have their mental illness dismissed by the church and/or be told not to take psychiatric medication. Given that a religious support system can play a vital role in recovery from serious mental disorders, these results suggest that continued education is needed to bring the Christian and mental health communities together.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-449
Number of pages5
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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