Religion and spirituality (RS) as a coping resource for facing stressful life events is encountered with increasing frequency in the medical literature. RS is associated with more favourable outcomes among people suffering from mental disorders. Detention is a stressful situation and the prevalence of mental disorders in places of detention is increased compared with the community. This literature review examined the association between RS and the mental health of detainees. PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science and the Internet were systematically searched from inception of each data base to August 1st 2010. Peer reviewed articles that reported primary empirical data about the impact of spirituality on the mental health and behaviour of detained persons were selected. Qualitative studies are also discussed. Twelve empirical studies including a total of 4,823 individuals met our inclusion criteria. RS is associated with lower frequency and severity of depressive episodes. The strongest reported effect of RS on prison life is a reduction of incidents and disciplinary sanctions. Prospective targeted studies are needed in order verify the hypothesis that RS reduces suicide among detainees.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 11, 2011
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