Spirituality, Religion and Psychiatric Practice in New Zealand
An Exploratory Study of New Zealand Psychiatrists
Keywords:research, psychiatric practice, religion, spirituality
This research conducted in New Zealand, sought to identify psychiatrists’ attitudes and practice with regard to religious and spiritual issues in mental health. The research extends upon previous work exploring more broadly the attitudes of physicians regarding religion, spirituality and medicine (Curlin, Lawrence, et al. 2007). An online survey was developed and advertised in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists on-line newsletter. Nearly one fifth of all registered psychiatrists in New Zealand participated in the survey. In overall terms the opinions and attitudes of respondents regarding religion/spirituality and its importance in mental health care were found to be mixed. This study suggests, however, that in New Zealand ethnicity is the single most significant factor that determines a psychiatrist’s opinion and practice with respect to religion and spirituality. Research limitations are noted as are suggestions for future research.
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