Title

The effect of intercessory prayer on recovery from mental illness

Date of Completion

January 2001

Keywords

Religion, General|Health Sciences, Mental Health|Education, Guidance and Counseling

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of intercessory prayer on recovery from mental illness. The researcher investigated the level of self reported symptoms of mental illness of thirty-seven patients in the William W. Backus Hospital (Norwich, CT) Center for Mental Health who received intercessory prayer (experimental group) compared to the level of self reported symptoms of mental illness of thirty-seven patients in the William W. Backus Hospital (Norwich, CT) Center for Mental Health who had not received intercessory prayer (control group). This study took place between November, 2000 and May, 2001. During this time the participants in the experimental group attended their regular therapy sessions and also received intercessory prayer from a group of individuals who identified themselves as Christians. There was no effort made to recruit only intercessors who were experienced in intercessory prayer. Also during this time period the participants in the control group attended their regular therapy sessions, but did not receive intercessory prayer from the identified intercessors. ^ It was the intent of the researcher to determine whether or not receiving intercessory prayer had a positive effect on reducing the participants' self report of their symptoms of mental illness as measured by the three Global Indices of the Brief Symptoms Inventory. Additionally the researcher intended to determine whether or not receiving intercessory prayer had an effect on the participants' self reported religious commitment as measured by Kasl's Religious Index. ^ To address the study's research questions, a randomized pretest-posttest comparison group design and an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to differentiate the experimental and comparison groups. ^ Findings indicated that receipt of intercessory prayer had a statistically significant positive effect on reducing the participants' self reported distress related to their mental illness. ^