General News Research — 05 January 2013

According to a new study, there might be an association between spirituality  and mental disorders.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Professor Michael  King, from University College London.

“Our main finding is that people who had a spiritual understanding of life  had worse mental health than those with an understanding that was neither  religious nor spiritual,” wrote King and his colleagues, reported The  Telegraph.

The study was based on a survey of more than 7,000 people in England.  Researchers found a group of people who claimed that they were not religious but  were spiritual. This particular group was found to be more vulnerable to mental  illness.

About 35 percent of the study participants said that they were religious; 46  percent said that they were neither religious nor spiritual while 19 percent  said that they were spiritual but not religious.

The spiritual group people were 50 percent more likely to have a generalized  anxiety disorder and a 72 percent more likely to have a phobia. These people  also had 77 percent higher odds of using drugs and were at 33 percent higher  risk of a neurotic disorder.

“People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a  religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder,” researchers  conclude.

However, according to a study analysis on NHS,  the main limitation of the study is that it doesn’t prove cause and effect  relationship. And, although it is tempting to say that spiritual people may  develop mental health problems, it is equally valid that these people took the  spiritual way to find alternative solutions to their problems.

The study  is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry



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