Émile Durkheim and Thomas Luckmann: Religion, spirituality and mental health

Aird, Rosemary (2015) Émile Durkheim and Thomas Luckmann: Religion, spirituality and mental health. In Collyer, Fran (Ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine. Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, United Kingdom, pp. 91-106.

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Abstract

This chapter examines connections between religion, spirituality and mental health. Religion and spirituality influence the way people conceive themselves, others and the world around them, as well as how they behave – and are strongly associated with numerous mental health outcomes. Religion and spirituality therefore demand the attention of those who seek a comprehensive understanding of the factors that affect mental health. Mental health professionals are increasingly being asked to consider their clients’ religious and/or spiritual beliefs when devising their treatment plans, making the study of religion and spirituality an essential area of learning for those working in the mental health field. Initial discussion in this chapter will focus on the different approaches taken by sociologists in studying mental health. Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of sociology, proposed that religion was fundamental to societal wellbeing and was the first to demonstrate a link between religion and mental health at a population level in the late 19th century. Durkheim’s classic theory of religion, together with the work of Thomas Luckmann and other contemporary social theorists who have sought to explain widespread religious change in Western countries since World War II will be examined. Two key changes during this period are the shift away from mainstream Christian religions and the widespread embracing of ‘spirituality’ as an alternative form of religious expression. In combination, the theories of Durkheim, Luckmann and other sociologists provide a platform from which to consider reasons for variations in rates of mental health problems observed in contemporary Western societies according to people’s religious/spiritual orientation. This analysis demonstrates the relevance of both classic and contemporary sociological theories to issues confronting societies in the present day.

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ID Code: 82963
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information:

Rosemary works for QUT part-time and completed this work as an independent researcher in her own time. Her independent research enables her to pursue research interests in line with her disciplinary background (Sociology)

Book DOI: 10.1057/9781137355621

Keywords: Spirituality, Religion, Mental health, Social theory
DOI: 10.1057/9781137355621.0012
ISBN: 9781137355614
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Theory (160806)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology not elsewhere classified (160899)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: © 2015 Palgrave Macmillan
Selection and editorial matter © Fran Collyer 2015
Individual chapters © Respective authors 2015
Copyright Statement: All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission.
No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency,
Saffron House, 6–10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The authors have asserted their rights to be identified as the authors of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Deposited On: 31 Mar 2015 00:02
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2016 05:44

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