Religious--sociocultural psychotherapy in patients with anxiety and depression

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1998 Dec;32(6):867-72. doi: 10.3109/00048679809073877.


Objective: To show the effectiveness of incorporating religious-sociocultural components in the management of patients with generalised anxiety disorders and major depression who have strong religious and cultural backgrounds as compared with a normal psychotherapeutic approach.

Methods: One hundred and three cases of anxiety and 100 cases of depression with strong religious and cultural backgrounds were randomly assigned to the study or control groups. Both groups received standard treatment for their respective illnesses. The study group was given additional religious-sociocultural psychotherapy. They were followed for 6 months and were assessed in a double-blind fashion using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale or the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale.

Results: Patients receiving additional religious-sociocultural psychotherapy responded significantly faster than those who received standard treatment. However, the difference became non-significant at the end of 6 months.

Conclusions: Incorporating a religious and sociocultural component in the treatment program rapidly improved anxiety and depressive symptoms in patients with strong religious and cultural backgrounds. The present study demonstrates a need for more sensitivity to religious-sociocultural issues in the field of mental health.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / ethnology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome