Paper Information

Journal:   ARCHIVES OF IRANIAN MEDICINE   July 2003 , Volume 6 , Number 3; Page(s) 184 To 188.
 
Paper: 

SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS AMONG PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS IN KERMAN, IRAN

 
 
Author(s):  GHAFARINEZHAD A.*, POUYA F., KASHANI M.R.
 
* 
 
Abstract: 
Background - Superstition, the belief in supernatural causes of events, is common in our Society and is sometimes associated with religious beliefs. Some psychiatric patients attribute their mental illness to supernatural causes, which can prevent them from benefiting from appropriate medications. They either discontinue medication and refer to Doa-Nevees, a person who writes prayers and amulets, and is known as a traditional healer, or seek superstitious treatments prior to psychiatric treatment. This study was performed to determine the frequency of beliefs in superstitious causes of mental illnesses among the psychiatric patients hospitalized in Beheshti Hospital, Kerman, Iran. Methods - In this descriptive study, 99 consecutive psychiatric in-patients were selected in Beheshti Hospital, Kerman, Iran from April 2000 to July 2000. Patients aged 17 to 70 years old (mean age ± SD, 32.2 t 8.9 years). The goal of the study was explained to all patients and they were enrolled into the study with complete consent. Subjects were questioned using a researcher-made questionnaire consisting of 15 items, which had been based on the researcher s clinical experience with psychiatric patients, and whose validity and reliability had been proved. Statistical analysis was done using Epi-info 6 computer application and Chi-square test. Results - The ratio of male/female was 1:1. Of all studied patients, 77.8% believed in superstitious causes of their illnesses and 60.7% had received some superstitious treatment. Forty-six (88.4%) of male and 31 (65.9%) of female patients believed in superstitious causes of their mental illness showing a significant difference in this regard between males and females (p < 0.008). Similarly, 37 (71.1%) of male and 23 (48.9%) of female patients had sought superstitious treatments, which showed a significant difference between these two groups in seeking superstitious treatments (p < 0.003). Nonpsychotic patients showed a higher inclination for superstitious treatments compared with psychotic ones. The rate of superstitious beliefs and seeking of related treatments were lower in patients with higher levels of education. Conclusion - Superstitious beliefs regarding the nature and treatment of mental illnesses may postpone effective psychiatric treatment and damage patients.
 
Keyword(s): IRAN . PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS . SUPERSTITION
 
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