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Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health: Current Controversies and Future Directions

Dein, Simon FRCPsych, PhD*; Cook, Christopher C. H. FRCPsych, PhD; Koenig, Harold MD, MHSc‡§

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b6dle
Review Article

Abstract: Although studies examining religion, spirituality, and mental health generally indicate positive associations, there is a need for more sophisticated methodology, greater discrimination between different cultures and traditions, more focus on situated experiences of individuals belonging to particular traditions, and, in particular, greater integration of theological contributions to this area. We suggest priorities for future research based on these considerations.

Author Information

*Research Department, Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London, England; †Department of Theology and Religion, University Durham, Durham, England; ‡Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC; and §Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Simon Dein is an honorary consultant psychiatrist at North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Christopher Cook is the director of the Project for Spirituality, Theology & Health and a professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.

Send reprint requests to Simon Dein, FRCPsych, PhD, Research Department, Mental Health Sciences, University College London, Charles Bell House, 67-73 Riding House St, London W1W 7EJ, England. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.