1. In this scoping review, intrinsic religiosity and positive religious coping are the dimensions of religion and spirituality (R/S) that have the most positive correlations with improvement of bipolar disorder symptoms.
2. Furthermore, bipolar patients struggle with their religious experiences and wish that R/S would be considered by mental health professionals.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Bipolar disorder requires a holistic approach involving not only pharmacotherapy, but also psychotherapy. More recently, the inclusion of religion/spirituality has also been considered. To date, the literature has favored quantitative literature as opposed to qualitative studies. As a result, the objective of the present scoping review was to provide an updated synthesis of qualitative and quantitative studies addressing R/S of patients with bipolar disorder.
Of 690 screened studies, 18 (n=4 qualitative, 14 quantitative) were included in the review from database inception to July 2021. Studies were included if they placed an emphasis on bipolar disorder and its relationship with R/S. Articles were excluded if they only mentioned R/S in a study without describing the interaction with bipolar disorder. Articles were independently screened by 2 authors. The authors assessed for the statistical rigor of the included studies.
Results demonstrated that “degree of personal religious commitment or motivation”, “religious activities performed in private”, and “petition to God for forgiveness” were most consistently associated with beneficial effects amongst bipolar patients. Furthermore, it was shown that R/S is not static and the fluid nature of belief and illness provide further information to both clinicians and patient to explore together when discussing therapeutic intervention. Despite these results, the study was limited by the absence of a formal bias assessment of the included studies, which may impact the strength of the conclusions drawn. Nonetheless, the findings provide grounds on which future therapeutic approaches including R/S in bipolar disorder may be developed.
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