Religious Rx: The Roles of Faith and a Religious Community in the Management of Mental Illness

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Ann Miles

Second Advisor

Dr. Bilinda Straight

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura Spielvogel


Mental illness, religion, medical, anthropology, psychiatry

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



Studies of mental illness have shown the benefits of social support to adults who live with mental illness. For those who hold religious beliefs, participating in a religious community could serve as such a form of social support. However, those with mental illness often face stigmatizing and demoralizing attitudes, as well as structural and financial barriers that prohibit them from participating in social activities. Through qualitative ethnographic research, this thesis examines the impact of religious beliefs and church participation among adults with mental illness. Participants' narratives are used to demonstrate a need for the realms of religion and medicine to address and treat the person as a whole, rather than the mere treatment of the somatic manifestations that can result from mental illness.


This thesis is unavailable because permission has not been granted by the author. A print copy is available at the WMU Waldo Library in the General Stacks at call number: RA 9999.S476

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