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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 280168, 8 pages
Research Article

German Psychiatrists’ Observation and Interpretation of Religiosity/Spirituality

1Departement of Caritas Science and Christian Social Welfare, Faculty of Theology, University of Freiburg, Platz der Universitaet 3, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
2Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Universität Freiburg, 79098 Freiburg, Germany

Received 11 July 2013; Revised 14 September 2013; Accepted 1 October 2013

Academic Editor: Arndt Büssing

Copyright © 2013 Eunmi Lee and Klaus Baumann. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was to explore how contemporary German psychiatrists think about religiosity/spirituality (ReS) in regard to their therapies. We conducted an anonymous survey among the clinical staff of psychiatry and psychotherapy departments in German university hospitals and faith-based clinics in the same cities. Two main instruments were used, the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) and the questionnaire from Curlin et al. “Religion and Spirituality in Medicine: Physicians’ Perspectives.” A total of 123 psychiatrists participated in this survey. However, due to incomplete responses, only 99 questionnaires from psychiatrists were analyzed. Results show that German psychiatrists positively experience the influence of ReS on patients’ mental health. Psychiatrists’ own ReS significantly influenced their interpretation of the effect of ReS on psychiatric patients as well as their attitude toward ReS in the clinical setting. The more religious psychiatrists are, the more they tend to observe a positive influence of ReS on mental health. In light of these results, psychiatrists should be aware of their own religious/spiritual characteristics and also reconsider their assumptions about professional neutrality and value openness. Furthermore, training programs on religious/spiritual issues and effective teamwork with chaplains are recommended.