Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Kate M. Loewenthal
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_543

What is psychosis? How is it related to religion and religious factors?

Psychoses are psychiatric illnesses normally distinguished from neuroses, the other main group of psychiatric disorders. In psychosis the degree of impairment and lack of insight are said to be more severe than in neurosis. Psychotic illnesses have been categorized into two broad groups: the schizophrenic disorders and the bipolar disorders. There are significant concerns about the use of these diagnostic categories, but they are likely to remain in use for the foreseeable future. In schizophrenia, the individual normally shows a marked deterioration in self-care, work functioning, and/or social relations, and moods may be inappropriate. There may be genetic susceptibility to stress and cannabis use, making the appearance of schizophrenia more likely. Symptoms normally include two or more of delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech, catatonic behavior (rigid, frozen posture), and flat or very inappropriate mood...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2014). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: Fifth edition DSM-5. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. Bhugra, D. (Ed.). (1996). Psychiatry and religion: Context, consensus, and controversies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Bhugra, D. (2002). Self-concept: Psychosis and attraction of new religious movements. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 5, 239–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S., & Hooley, J. M. (2010) Abnormal psychology (14th ed). Boston: Pearson. 2007.Google Scholar
  5. Coker, E. M. (2004). The construction of religious and cultural meaning in Egyptian psychiatric patient charts. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 7, 323–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davies, M. F., Griffiths, M., & Vice, S. (2001). Affective reactions to auditory hallucinations in psychotic, evangelical and control groups. The British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40, 361–370.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Dein, S. (2010). Judeo-Christian religious experience and psychopathology: The legacy of William James. Transcultural Psychiatry, 47, 523–547.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Ensink, K., & Robertson, B. (1999). Patient and family experiences of psychiatric services and African indigenous healers. Transcultural Psychiatry, 36, 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eysenck, M. W. (1998). Personality and the psychology of religion. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 1, 11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Greenberg, D., & Witztum, E. (2001). Sanity and sanctity: Mental health work among the ultra-orthodox in Jerusalem. New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Heilman, S. C., & Witztum, E. (2000). All in faith: Religion as the idiom and means of coping with distress. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 3, 115–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hufford, D. J. (2005). Sleep paralysis as spiritual experience. Transcultural Psychiatry, 42, 11–45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hustoft, H., Hestat, K. A., Lars, L., et al. (2013). “If I didn’t have my faith I would have killed myself!” Spiritual coping in patients suffering from schizophrenia. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 23, 126–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Joseph, S., Smith, D., & Diduca, D. (2002). Religious orientation and its association with personality, schizotypal traits and manic-depressive experiences. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 5, 73–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kalian, M., & Witztum, E. (2002). Jerusalem syndrome as reflected in the pilgrimage and biographies of four extraordinary women from the 14th century to the end of the second millennium. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 5, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Koenig, H. (Ed.). (1998). Religion and mental health. San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  17. Kroll, J., Bachrach, B., & Carey, K. (2002). A reappraisal of medieval mysticism and hysteria. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 5, 83–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lipsedge, M. (1996). Religion and madness in history. In D. Bhugra (Ed.), Psychiatry and religion: Context, consensus, controversies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Lipsedge, M. (2003). Jonathan Martin: Prophet and incendiary. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 6, 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Littlewood, R., & Lipsedge, M. (1997). Aliens and alienists: Ethnic minorities and psychiatry (3rd ed.). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Loewenthal, K. M. (2007). Religion, culture and mental health. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Maltby, J., Lewis, C. A., & Day, L. (1999). Religious orientation and psychological well-being: The role of the frequency of personal prayer. British Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 363–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pargament, K. (1997). The psychology of religion and coping. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  24. Peters, E., Day, S., McKenna, J., & Orbach, G. (1999). Delusional ideas in religious and psychiatric populations. The British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38, 83–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Pfeifer, S. (1994). Belief in demons and exorcism in psychiatric patients in Switzerland. The British Journal of Medical Psychology, 67, 247–258.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Siddle, R., Haddock, G., Tarrier, N., & Faragher, E. B. (2002). Religious delusions in patients admitted to hospital with schizophrenia. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37, 130–138.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Wilson, W. P. (1998). Religion and psychoses. In H. Koenig (Ed.), Religion and mental health (pp. 161–172). San Diego: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yorston, G. (2001). Mania precipitated by meditation: A case report and literature review. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 4, 209–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate M. Loewenthal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK