Date of Award

Spring 1986

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor


Second Advisor

Dupuis, A.

Third Advisor



A relationship between psychiatry and religion has existed throughout history. Each is concerned with human well being and seeks to deal with the mysteries and tragedies of human existence. Through religion, one learns the virtue of suffering, the significance of pain, disability and disease. (Engelhardt, 1982). Religion influences our understanding of the existence and meaning of mental illness and the practices of treating mental illness. Two traditional theological explanations for mental illness are demon or spirit possession and punishment by God. It is therefore understandable that beliefs about mental illness have been characterized by superstition, ignorance and fear. These attitudes have persisted to the present time. For example, the final report of the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health (1961), describes societies' rejection of the mentally ill and the pervasive defeatism that stands in the way of effective treatment. More recent research on the attitude of the adult public toward the mentally ill (Lemkau & Crocetti, 1962; Meyer, 1964; Ring & Schein, 1970), has indicated that since the 1950's, people have become better informed about mental illness and know that it is "correct" to believe that mental illness is an illness like any other. However, the general public still has a negative stereotype of, and negative attitudes toward those labeled mentally ill. (Elinson, Padilla & Perkins, 1967; Phillips, 1963, 1966, 1967; Sarbin & Mancuso, 1970; Tringo, 1970)...



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