Are religious practices involving seeing visions and speaking in tongues beneficial or detrimental to mental health? Do some cultures express distress in bodily form because they lack the linguistic categories to express distress psychologically? Do some religions encourage clinical levels of obsessional behaviour? And are religious people happier than others? By merging the growing information on religion and mental health with that on culture and mental health, Kate Loewenthal enables fresh perspectives on these questions. This book deals with different psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, manic disorders, depression, anxiety, somatisation and dissociation as well as positive states of mind, and analyses the religious and cultural influences on each.
Kate Loewenthal is Professor of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has published numerous articles and spoken at international conferences on her research areas of the impact of religious and cultural factors on mental health, and of family size in relation to well-being. Her research has also earned her funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust and the Nuffield Foundation. She serves on the editorial board of several journals concerned with the psychological aspects of religion, and is an editor of Mental Health, Religion and Culture.