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Spiritual and Holistic Healing Practices Used by People with Psychiatric Conditions

Author(s): 
Russinova, Zlatka PhD and Wewiorski, Nancy PhD
Project title: 
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center in Rehabilitation of Persons with Long-Term Mental Illness
Project Number: 
H133B990023
Tool type: 
Survey
Tool class: 
Nonengineering tool
Disability targeted: 
Psychiatric disabilities
Study target: 
Mental health consumers who have benefited from the use of alternative practices to deal with their psychiatric conditions
Study purpose or goal: 
To understand the patterns of use of alternative health practices used by mental health consumers and their benefits
Who administers this tool?: 
Participants
Ease of use: 
Average
Time to complete: 
60 - 90 minutes
Skills needed: 
none
Equipment required: 
none
Sensitive issues: 
There are no sensitive issues addressed.
Are any approvals required?: 
irb
How is it administered?: 
The survey was distributed and returned by mail. All names are stripped from returned surveys and an ID number is assigned to the form
What is the scope or what areas does it cover?: 
The survey gathers information as to the use of holistic healing practices, respondents spirituality and spiritual practices, mental health status and treatment, and demographics. There are no sensitive issues addressed
Development background: 
In the development of this survey, database and literature searches were done regarding alternative medicine. Consultations were made with researchers within the research center. The surveys were piloted with consumers, who contributed modifications to create the final product
Development methodology: 
Questions and methodology were chosen to fulfill the research question. Some items were drawn from previously existing surveys.
Consumer input: 
The surveys were piloted with consumers, who contributed modifications to create the final product
Sample type: 
No specific sample was gathered
Data analysis: 
Is in process
Limitations: 
The survey is long, but researchers had a relatively moderate response rate
Participants reported some practices as alternative (i.e. exercise, journaling, art) which may not have been considered alternative therapy
Participants reported some practices as alternative (i.e. exercise, journaling, art) which may not have been considered alternative therapy
Findings: 
Interim findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health (2002). The data has led to a new typology of alterative practices. The survey asked participants to identify their own practices, rather than check items off from a list. Researchers created a taxonomy of the benefits: physical, emotional, cognitive, self regulation, social, spiritual, and overall functioning. This has led to a discussion of the major outcomes of types of practices, patterns, benefits, and correlates.
Interpretations: 
The data allows researchers to look at the overall picture of multiple use of different alternative practices and analyze data for specific processes. Angles and direction of analyses can be generalized to other communities. Practices/actions that people take in connection with their beliefs have an impact on a wide range of outcome variables
Research methods: 
Various data analysis techniques are being applied, including quantitative and qualitative statistics, and data management
Peer review status: 
Interim results were published in the American Journal of Public Health
Who uses the collected data?: 
Mental health and rehabilitation professionals, consumers, and family members.
Tool contact: 
E. Sally Rogers, ScD
Email: 
mfarkas@bu.edu, erogers@bu.edu
Phone: 
617/353-3549