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The literature recognizes the importance of the relationship between religion and mental health. The aim of this study is to assess whether there is a greater tolerance towards other people with psychiatric disorders or not, according to the religious beliefs of the respondent. The knowledge and attitudes of the population of the provinces of Lecce and Matera in relation to their religious beliefs were assessed through a cross sectional, multicentric study.
The study is observational, cross-sectional, multicenter and covered the population of the provinces of Lecce and Matera from May 2019 to April 2021. The validated questionnaire “Stigma study 2.0: Analysis of the stigmatization process towards those suffering from mental disorders” was administered.
A total of 642 subjects voluntarily agreed to the study. Of these, 132(20.56%) declared to be atheists and 510(79.44%) declared to be believers. Statistical significance is evident between the two groups in the sphere of “Authoritarianism”: believers show higher levels of authoritarian beliefs than atheists (item no.2: p = .027; item no. 3: p = .021; item no. 4: p = .003; item no. 5: p < .001). In the sub dimension of “Benevolence” only in item no. 2 “More tax money should be spent on the care and treatment of the mentally ill” the religious group is more convinced than the atheist group (p = .021). In the sub-dimension “Social restrictiveness”, all the items are significantly different between the two groups: the group of believers is more convinced that psychiatric patients should be more responsible and should be more involved in the social context. Finally, also in the fourth and last sub-dimension, the religious group registers a higher level of conviction on the possibility that the psychiatric patients should live integrated in the social fabric, in the common territory and that they do not represent any threat to anyone in their neighbourhood.
In light of the results obtained in the present study and the data available in the literature, it seems that the concept of religiosity/spirituality of the participants is of fundamental importance in the global conception of well-being in a holistic vision of the patient with full respect for the beliefs and spiritual/religious practices of their patients and their families and caregivers.



Elsa Vitale - Mental Health Canter, ASL (Local Health Authority) Bari, Italy

Roberto Lupo - Lecce Local Health Authority, San Giuseppe da Copertino Hospital, Lecce, Italy

Alessia Lezzi - ANT Italia ONLUS Foundation (National Cancer Association) Lecce, Italy

Simone Zacchino - ANT Italia ONLUS Foundation (National Cancer Association) Lecce, Italy

Antonino Calabrò - “Nuovo Ospedale degli Infermi” Hospital, ASL (Local Health Authority) Biella, Italy

Maicol Carvello - Brisighella Community Hospital, ASL (Local Health Authority) of Romagna, Brisighella (RA), Italy

Annunziata Aliano - Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Policlinico, Modena, Italy

Luana Conte - Laboratory of Biomedical Physics and Environment, Department of Mathematics and Physics “E. De Giorgi”, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy; Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Research Applied to Medicine (DReAM), University of Salento and ASL (Local Health Authority) Lecce, Italy

How to Cite
Vitale, E., Lupo, R., Lezzi, A., Zacchino, S., Calabrò, A., Carvello, M. , Aliano, A. and Conte, L. 2022. General population attitudes in mental disorders: an investigatory study on psychiatric disorders and religion beliefs. Journal of Psychopathology. 28, 1 (Mar. 2022). DOI:
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