Religion, spirituality and mental health in the West and the Middle East

Asian J Psychiatr. 2012 Jun;5(2):180-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 May 18.


Research on religion, spirituality and mental health has been rapidly accumulating from Western countries and now increasingly from the Middle East. We review here the latest research on this topic from these two areas of the world, one largely Christian and the other largely Muslim, after discussing similarities and differences in these faith traditions. Contrary to popular thought, there is considerable overlap between these religious groups in beliefs, practices of worship, moral beliefs and values, and emphasis on family life (although also some distinct differences). Because of the similarity in belief and practice, it is not surprising that research on mental health and devout religious involvement in both these religious traditions has tended to produce similar results. Religious psychotherapies within these faith traditions have been developed and are now being refined and used in clinical trials to determine if integrating patients' religious resources into therapy is more or less effective than conventional therapies in relieving the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Americas / ethnology
  • Christianity*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Islam*
  • Mental Health / ethnology*
  • Middle East / ethnology
  • Spirituality*