BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Date of Submission



Dr. Sahar Nadeem Hamid, Assistant Professor and Chairperson Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


The research project focuses on examining the impact of demographic factors and religion on people’s social perceptions regarding the attribution of jinn possession and black magic as the cause of mental illnesses within Karachi using key theories from social psychology. Mental illnesses are understood in the South Asian community and particularly in Pakistan within the context of culture and religion. A review of academic literature depicted the impact that religion can have on mental health illness treatment as well as counseling behaviors. Consequently, some people can be hesitant to seek out therapy for their mental health issues due to the attachment of stigma and attribution to supernatural causes for mental illnesses.

To explore this further, a mixed-methods design was used for which a survey was created consisting of three stories. A total of 75 responses were collected, after which quantitative analysis was conducted via SPSS followed by thematic plus narrative analysis. The thematic analysis brought the focus towards two broad themes consisting of mental disorders (Attribution theory and mental illnesses) along with religion and Top-Down Processing theory.

The initial hypothesis was accepted. That demographics and religious factors have an impact on the perceptions that people hold about attributing black magic or jinn possession as the cause of mental illnesses. The current research project yields several significant findings regarding not only jinn possession and black magic and them being held as the cause for mental illnesses, but also on the connection between religion, perception, and mental illness.



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