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Table of Contents
Vol. 30, No. 2, 1997
Issue release date: 1997
Psychopathology 1997;30:93–99

Magico-Religious Beliefs and Psychosis

Vlachos I.O. · Beratis S. · Hartocollis P.
Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Patras, Greece

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In a sample of 80 mothers of psychotic patients from Southwestern Greece, 85 % entertained strong metaphysical beliefs of a magico-religious nature concerning the cause of psychotic illness. This finding was more prevalent among the less educated. A comparable number of patients with magico-religious delusions had mothers who attributed their children’s illness to supernatural causes, a finding suggesting that family beliefs and attitudes influence the content of the patient’s delusional thinking. Resorting to exorcism or magic, alone or in combination with formal psychiatric help, was very common. Awareness of lay beliefs about psychosis and the proper handling of such beliefs by the treating psychiatrist may facilitate cooperation with the patient and his family, increasing the prospect of a more favorable outcome.

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