The Association of Mental Distress and Spirituality/religiosity among Homicide Offenders in Jimma Prison, Ethiopia

  • MD Audu
  • M Tesfaye
  • S Gurmu
  • M Mela
  • TM Agbir
Keywords: Religiosity, Spirituality, Mental Distress, Homicide offenders


Background: Religion and its influence on mental health have often been viewed with scepticism. Nevertheless, the last two decades have witnessed an increased scientific interest in the link between religion and mental health. In Ethiopia, there is a paucity of literature on the subject matter.
Aim: To determine the association between mental distress and religiosity/spirituality and to determine what religious/spiritual factors predict mental distress.
Methods: the study was a crosssectional study of 546 consented homicide offenders in Jimma Prison, Ethiopia. Face to face interviews were conducted with subjects and the following instruments were administered: Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ 20), Duke Religion Index, Satisfaction With Life Scale, Spiritual Well-Being Scale, Religious Coping Index, and Social Support Index.
Results: The results showed that 35.9% were mentally distressed. The scores on religious commitment, practice and social support weakly correlated with SRQ- 20 scores, whereas Satisfaction With life and existential well-being scores inversely correlated with SRQ 20 scores. Multiple regression analysis showed that religious commitment and practice, intrinsic religiosity, existential well-being, satisfaction with life and social support predicted stable mental state.
Conclusion: We conclude that mental distress is significantly associated with religious practice, commitment and spirituality. Offenders' spiritual well-being and religious commitment help them to adjust well to incarceration, which is necessary for correction and rehabilitation.

Keywords : Religiosity , Spirituality, Mental Distress, Homicide offenders



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eISSN: 0189-1774