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Religious Activity, Psychotic Features, and Suicidality in 688 Acute Psychiatric Inpatients

ABDEL GAWAD, NOHA, MD; DESAI, PRATIKKUMAR, MD, MPH; ALI, TAHA, MD; LEWIS, KIMBERLY K., MD; POLO, ROBERT, MD; ENGSTROM, ALLISON; ALLEN, MELISSA, DO; PIGOTT, TERESA, MD

Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: July 2018 - Volume 24 - Issue 4 - p 253–260
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000311
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Background: Religiosity has been linked to mental health outcomes for decades. This study examined the potential relationship between religiosity and demographic and clinical variables in a sample of psychiatric inpatients.

Methods: In total, 688 adults admitted to an acute psychiatric facility with a primary mood or psychotic disorder completed the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL). The DUREL measures religious activity in 3 domains: organizational religious activity (ORA), nonorganizational religious activity (NORA), and intrinsic (or subjective) religiosity (IR). We categorized scores into high and low religiosity. Bivariate analyses with χ2 and independent sample t tests were used to examine the association between the DUREL subscales and demographic, clinical, and outcome measures. A generalized linear model was used to identify predictors of suicidality, psychosis, and 30-day rehospitalization.

Results: Elevated religious activity was common in the inpatient sample, with 58% categorized as high IR, 43% as high NORA, and 36% as high ORA. For all 3 DUREL subscales, high religiosity scores were associated with significantly more psychosis (P<0.05) and significantly less suicidal ideation (P<0.001). High ORA (P=0.001) and high IR (P=0.01) were associated with significantly fewer suicide attempts. High ORA scores were also associated with an increased length of stay (P<0.05) and more frequent 30-day readmission rates (P=0.01). In the generalized linear model, predictors of lower levels of suicidality were high ORA, high IR, and a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychotic disorder, whereas a diagnosis of depressive disorder was associated with greater suicidality. Predictors of psychosis were high IR and Hispanic ethnicity, whereas a diagnosis of depressive disorder was associated with lower rates of psychosis. Female inpatients were more likely than male inpatients to score high on the ORA (P<0.05), NORA (P<0.05), and IR (P<0.0001) subscales. In addition, a significant relationship was detected between age and high IR scores (P<0.005), with increasing age associated with higher IR scores.

Conclusions: Although preliminary, these results suggest that a brief measure of religiosity may provide important information concerning clinical features and acute outcomes in patients hospitalized with serious mental illness.

ABDEL GAWAD, DESAI, ALI, ALLEN, PIGOTT: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Harris County Psychiatric Center, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Houston, TX

LEWIS, POLO: McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Houston, TX

ENGSTROM: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Harris County Psychiatric Center, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Houston, TX, and Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Noha Abdel Gawad, MD, Harris County Psychiatric Center, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77054 (e-mail: noha.m.abdelgawad.uth.tmc.edu).

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