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Schizophr Res. 2011 Mar;126(1-3):150-63. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2010.11.005. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

Association of religion with delusions and hallucinations in the context of schizophrenia: implications for engagement and adherence.

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Columbia University, 1255 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, New York, 10027, United States.



The relationship of religion and schizophrenia is widely acknowledged, but often minimized by practitioners and under investigated by researchers. In striving to help fill this gap, this paper focuses on examining four aims: 1) how research has investigated the association between religiosity and schizophrenia; 2) how is religiosity associated with delusions and hallucinations; 3) what are the risk and protective factors associated with religiosity and schizophrenia; and 4) does religion influence treatment adherence with individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.


A systematic literature search of PsycINFO and MEDLINE databases from January 1, 1980 through January 1, 2010 was conducted using the terms schizophrenia, schizoaffective, schizophreniform, psychotic disorder not otherwise specified (NOS) and religion, religiosity, spirituality, or faith. Seventy (n=70) original research studies were identified.


Religion can act as both a risk and protective factor as it interacts with the schizophrenia symptoms of hallucination and delusions. Cultural influences tend to confound the association of religion and schizophrenia. Adherence to treatment has a mixed association with religiosity.


The relationship between religion and schizophrenia may be of benefit to both clinicians and researchers through enhancing adherence to treatment, and enhancement of the protective aspects while minimizing associated risk. The relationship of religion and schizophrenia needs further research that is more nuanced and methodologically rigorous, specifically concerning its influence on engagement and adherence to treatment.

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