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“My heaven turned into copper” : An in-depth, idiographic narrative approach to the role of religion in the psychosis experience of Dutch autobiographical writers

Bauer, J. (2023) “My heaven turned into copper” : An in-depth, idiographic narrative approach to the role of religion in the psychosis experience of Dutch autobiographical writers.

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Abstract:Introduction: Since religion and religious coping can have significant positive and negative influences on religious patients with psychosis and their treatment, patients and researchers alike urge healthcare professionals to familiarize themselves with the role of religion in their patients’ lives. Analyses of autobiographical patient stories can inform healthcare professionals and researchers about the patients’ lived experience and the extent to which the religious coping theory by Pargament (1997) is applicable to qualitative data like patient stories. Methods: Three Dutch books by female Christian authors with a history of psychotic symptoms were selected from the Erasmus University Rotterdam archive of patient stories using purposive sampling with the sampling criteria that the authors should describe their experience with psychosis and religion in detail. The books were each analyzed with a storyline analysis and the role of religion and coping and later compared to each other. Results and discussion: Common themes in the books were that religion can play a fluid and sometimes conflicting positive and negative role in the authors’ lives, previous experiences with religion and God attachment seemed to influence the religiosity of the authors, and all authors made use of religious appraisals of their symptoms. These results were in line with previous research. Next to that, a similarity was that the theoretical religious coping framework could only partly be applied to the patient experience, as there were several mismatches between theory and experience. Recommendations, strengths and limitations: I recommend that healthcare providers adapt a client-centered and non-pathologizing approach to start a conversation about the above-mentioned themes with their patients while staying aware of other themes that might emerge from the conversations. The results of the current study underline the need for more research which utilizes patient stories. The potential relationship between religious trauma and psychosis and the applicability of the religious coping framework to qualitative data like patient stories should also be explored in future research. The strong points of the study are its pioneering methods and aim, and that it sheds light on the experiences of non-English-speaking people with psychosis and the negative sides of religion. Limitations of the study are the low number of books and thus the limited generalizability, the language barrier, and the fact that I conducted the analyses by myself.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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