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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005 Aug;73(4):610-6.

Psychosis or faith? Clinicians' assessment of religious beliefs.

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Psychology Department, University of Missouri--St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121, USA.


This study investigated mental health professionals' assessment of the pathognomonic significance of religious beliefs. A total of 110 participants reviewed 3 vignettes depicting individuals possessing the religious beliefs associated with Catholicism, Mormonism, and Nation of Islam. The religious beliefs of the individuals in the vignettes were identified as either being integral to a religious tradition or not and also as either resulting in a threat to harm another or not. Identifying beliefs as religious resulted in lower ratings of pathology for 2 of the religions, and beliefs that did not involve a threat to harm also were rated lower for the same 2 religions. The results reveal a disjuncture between recommendations of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) and clinicians' judgments.

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