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20.feb.2003.
Odbrana doktorske disertacije

THE IMPACT OF RELIGIOSITY ON THE ADOLESCENT'S MENTAL DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTH*
Izet Pajevic
Psychiatry Clinic, University Clinical Center Tuzla, School of Medicine, University Tuzla,
75 000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Summary

Contemporary studies undoubtedly show that higher mental functions in no small measure develop under the influence of social and cultural factors. In this context, religiousness, as one of certainly important variable among those factors, is not especially scientifically elaborated nor its impact on psychological human development as well as development during adolescence is seriously explored. According to the opinions of a great number of worthy of recognition the world's mental health experts, mankind of today is facing with a lot of problems, which are presented by consequences of spiritual and moral/ethical degradation of humans. These trends negatively reflect on mental health especially during adolescence, so this period of human life, which is in its nature particularly sensitive, recently is in the focus of interest of various researchers.

Previous small number of studies that deal with the impact of religiousness on mental health, and even lesser number of those which are focused on relation between religiousness and psychological growth in youth, as well as the actuality of these issues, represent an important stimulus for this kind of research.

The main goal of this study is to establish if religiousness exerts an impact on psychological growth and health in adolescents, the nature of this impact, the mechanisms for its realization and its reflection on personality structure as well as mental health itself. In this study, the author analyzed a sample of 240 mentally and physically healthy adolescents of both sexes divided into appropriate groups that are equal in gender (male, female), age (bellow 15, over 18), school achievements (average students), conduct (A students in average), family structure (complete family with content family ties) and level of exposure to psychosocial stress (they have not been exposed to a specific traumatic event). Experimental group (E) is made of subjects who are highly religious and practically express their religiousness. Control group (C) consists of subjects with low level of religiousness, which is practically not expressed. For selection of sample, a measuring instrument is used and religious, moral and social profile of subject has been assessed. For the assessment of personality and emotional profile and defensive mechanisms of subject, a standardized test battery (FPI, PIE, OM) is used.

Statistical data processing is done in SPSS 10.01 Programme and the methods used in this study include t-test, Hi-test, and complex analysis of variance. Testing hypothesis that religiousness exerts a positive impact on mental health and growth of adolescents is confirmed with the results. Religiousness positively reflects on adolescent's maturation in terms that it contributes to its balance, harmony, channeling energies into recognition and strengthening true identity which creates requirements for the formation of entire, integrated, steady, self-aware and adaptable personality. It creates a natural climate for the process of psychosocial growth during adolescence, stabilizes a nervous system, strengthen its ability to conditioning, which encourages faster process of higher quality socialization, empower tendency toward accepting the values and the rules of conduct.
Religiousness gives a precise cognitive behavioral patterns for how to deal with certain life situations that might cause inappropriate conduct and destabilization of psychic status, in order to prevent permanent negative sequels on mental health. Doubtless, it is shown that in highly religious subjects, the factors such as inner conflicts, frustrations, fear, anxiety, psychological trauma, low self-esteem, misbalance of psychological homeostasis are present in small measure, and a negative psychological energy is neutralized in constructive and more effective way. In this way, an adequate assessment of the situation, higher rational distribution and use of psychic energy, faster socialization, higher resistance to frustration, more effective overcoming conflict situations, higher content, highly expressed aspiration toward higher goals is achieved. Highly religious subjects are presented with lesser anxiety, less depression, less aggression. Thus, they are, in much lesser part, subject to deviant behavioral patterns.

* Pajevic I. The impact of religiosity on the adolescent's mental development and health. Docoral Dissertation. Medical School of the Tuzla University, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2003 ".

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Ocjena i izvještaj komisije o disetaciji
Fotografije sa odbrane disertacije
Izet Pajević - biografski podaci
Due to interest shown by other researchers in questionnaires used for the assessment of subject's religiosity, with the assent of the author, given are the original questionnaires applied in these studies. The only demand of the author, in case of using the questionnaires by other researches, is to be correctly cited and to be informed about possible new studies where his questionnaires are applied, both in its original and adapted version.

Morality Scale - eng

Questionnaire - Spiritual Profile

Questionnaire on Salat - en

Questionnaire on Religious Practice
 
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