Religious Belief in Mental Illness and Its Influences on Seeking Treatment: Indonesian Patients’ Perspectives

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Sri Wahyuni
Wandee Suttharangsee
Orawan Nukaew


There is strong interaction between religion and mental health problems. Mentally ill patients may
need their religious beliefs to be considered in illness management planning. This study aimed to describe
patients’ religious belief on mental illness and its influences on treatment seeking. Qualitative this study
was conducted in a psychiatric hospital and patients’ residences in Indonesia. Ten patients met the inclusion
criteria of adherence treatment over least 2 years, and were not in an acute phase of illness. Purposive
participant selection was used. Information was collected using in-depth individual interviews and the data
were analyzed using content analysis. Lincoln and Guba’s criteria were considered for trustworthiness. The
findings were illustrated in two categories: the meaning of mental illness, and the influences of religious
belief in seeking treatment. The first category was explained in two themes: 1) positive perspective with
subthemes: the illness as enhancing the Imaan and atonement for the patient’s sins by going through the
trial or test from Allah; and the illness as the destiny and the will of Allah, 2) negative perspectives with
subthemes: the illness as the weakness of Imaan; devil/jiin or black magic as the cause of illness; and illness
as a punishment for the patient’s sins. The second category is the influences of religious belief in treatment
seeking with four subthemes: families or relatives as the initial treatment-seekers; Islamic rules as a guide
on seeking the treatment; believing in the verses of Qur’an and hadith; and believing in destiny. The issues
of religion in mentally ill patients regarding their illness and the decision in seeking treatment should be
considered in designing nursing care for patients.


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How to Cite
Wahyuni, S., Suttharangsee, W., & Nukaew, O. (2017). Religious Belief in Mental Illness and Its Influences on Seeking Treatment: Indonesian Patients’ Perspectives. Journal of Research in Nursing-Midwifery and Health Sciences, 37(Supplement), 60–68. Retrieved from
Research Articles Supplement