Psychological Health, Trauma, Dissociation, Absorption, and Fantasy proneness among Danish Spiritual practitioners

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Groups of spiritual practitioners (P) (n 38), long-term residents in a center offering spiritual courses (R) (n = 8), and matched control groups from a general, population sample for P (CP) (n = 45) and for R (CR) (n = 14) were compared. P had high levels of education and tended to be in a committed relationship and belong to the Danish National Church, whereas R had a lower level of education and were unlikely to be in a committed relationship or belong to the Church, suggesting social marginality. All groups completed the Brief Symptom Inventory-53 (BSI-53), a measure of psychological distress. P did not differ from the control groups in the Global Severity scale (GSI) or the other subscales of the BSI-53 except for scoring lower on the phobic anxiety subscale. In contrast, R scored higher in the GSI and most BSI-53 subscales than P and the control groups, and published norms for Danish and US populations. P and R did not differ in the subscales of somatization or interpersonal sensitivity. These two groups also filled out measures of dissociation, general and severe trauma, absorption, and fantasy proneness. R scored higher than P in dissociation, severe trauma, and absorption.The GSI correlated with dissociation, a history of serious trauma and (weakly) with absorption, but not with general trauma or fantasy-proneness. Overall, the results do not support the view that most spiritual practitioners have higher psychological distress or are socially marginal, although there is a subset of more troubled individuals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)170-184
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

ID: 140899189