Hospitalized psychiatric and medical patients and the clergy

Abigail B. Sivan*, George A. Fitchett, Laurel A. Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Earlier research suggested that persons in a community with significant psychiatric disorders seek relief from their clergy as often as from trained mental-health professionals. In this research, contacts with clergy about current hospitalization by matched samples of inpatient psychiatric (N = 51) and medical/surgical (N = 50) patients were compared, as were responses to structured interviews about the importance of religion, religious affiliation, and participation, spiritual needs, and spiritual well-being. The findings suggest that the two groups were similar in demographics, the degree to which religion was a source of strength and comfort in their lives, and percentages reporting as having a clergy person; the group of hospitalized psychiatric patients was significantly less likely, however, than the sample of medical/surgical patients to have discussed their current hospitalization with their clergy persons. Possible causes for this difference as well as areas of further research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • General Nursing


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