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ISSN: 1935-1232 (P)

ISSN: 1941-2010 (E)

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Abstract

Religion???s Effect on Mental Health in Schizophrenia: Examining the Roles of Meaning-Making and Seeking Social Support

Author(s): Naomi T. Tabak, Amy Weisman de Mamani

While a growing body of research suggests that religion offers mental health benefits for individuals with schizophrenia, few studies have examined the mechanisms underlying this effect. The present study investigated two potential mediators (seeking social support and meaning-making coping) that may elucidate the nature of this relationship. The sample included 112 individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Structural equation modeling was used to test whether religion was related to symptom severity and quality of life (QoL), and whether seeking social support and meaning-making coping mediated these effects. As expected, meaning-making coping significantly mediated the effect of intrinsic religion (use of religion as a framework to understand life) on QoL. While extrinsic religion (use of religion as a social convention) was associated with seeking social support, it did not relate to either outcome variable. Findings offer insight into the ways in which religion may improve the mental health of patients with schizophrenia. Results suggest that the adaptive elements of intrinsic religion seen in prior research may be explained by the meaning that religion offers. Clinical interventions that encourage patients to find meaning amidst adversity may improve QoL in this population. Future research would benefit from further investigation of the meaning-making process in individuals with schizophrenia.