BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Date of Submission



Hajrah Rahman, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


The study focuses on examining the impact of Pakistani culture and Islamic religion on belief in faith healing and mental health perceptions, based on attribution of schizophrenia to jinn possession, using key theories of cultural identity and spiritual development. Based on the review of existing literature, mental illness is perceived within religious and cultural contexts, whereby Muslims within the South Asian community are more likely to attribute mental illness to jinn possession and black magic, hence resort to faith healing as first line treatment. Consequently, there is reluctance regarding professional mental health care due to lack of familiarity and societal stigma around mental illness.

To explore the factors that contribute towards attribution of mental illness to Jinn possession and negative attitude towards professional mental health care, a mixed-methods design was used consisting of both quantitative and qualitative data. A survey was created consisting of two diagnosed cases of individuals exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia qualitative responses were collected by asking the respondents what the individual is experiencing and what the corresponding help-seeking behaviour should be. For quantitative data, ‘practice of prayer and religious gestures’ (Qidwai et al., 2009) and ‘Muslim attitude and perceptions toward Mental health (Awaad et al., 2019) was used, examining cultural and religious beliefs and practices.

A total of 75 responses were collected through an online questionnaire, after which quantitative analysis was conducted on SPSS, and qualitative analysis was conducted through thematic analysis, focusing on two broad themes: perception of mental illness and help-seeking behaviour. The initial hypothesis was rejected suggesting that there is no significant relationship between belief in faith healing and belief in jinn possession. However, the second hypothesis was accepted, indicating a significant relationship between belief in faith healing and negative attitude towards professional mental health. A linear multiple regression revealed that cultural beliefs, religious beliefs, belief in faith healing and belief in jinn possession were all significant predictors of negative attitude towards professional mental health care. Thematic analysis yielded subthemes of mental illness, hallucinations/delusions, supernatural phenomena, emotional distress, need for professional help and religious interventions.

The current findings of the study highlight the interplay between culture, religion and mental illness. It will contribute towards a better understanding of the lack of awareness and familiarity regarding mental health which influences perceptions and therefore help-seeking behaviour.



The full text of this document is only accessible to authorized users.