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Psychiatr Serv. 2003 Dec;54(12):1649-51.

Near-death experiences in a psychiatric outpatient clinic population.

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Departmennt of Psychiatric Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0152, USA.


Near-death experiences, or mystical experiences during encounters with death, are reported to have beneficial effects despite their phenomenologic similarity to pathological states. This study explored the prevalence of near-death experiences and associated psychological distress by using a cross-sectional survey of 832 psychiatric outpatients. Standardized measures of near-death experiences and psychological distress were administered via questionnaire at clinic intake. A total of 272 patients (33 percent) reported encounters with death, and these patients were found to have greater psychological distress than other patients. Sixty-one of the patients who had been close to death (22 percent) reported having near-death experiences, and these patients were found to have less psychological distress than patients who did not have near-death experiences after brushes with death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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