Research areas

Psychology of Religion

Public Mental Health Promotion and Existential Meaning

The central aim of this project is to create a new research area for psychology of religion within the Swedish and Scandinavian contexts, an area linked to international developments in this field. The research is expected to provide new empirical studies in a variety of relevant clinical areas that can impact treatment practices and promote well-being and resilience strategies. The research also aims to contribute to the production of empirically tested theoretical models and to the development of strategies for mental health promotion at the societal/institutional levels.

Central research questions include: In what ways are cultural- and existential sources/information being used in clinical contexts? How can the types of existential information that patients actually experience and describe be classified in relation to existing existential typologies of meaning making? In what way(s) does existential information seem to contribute to protective and/or risk factors for mental health? How can the research results contribute to understanding the function(s) of existential information in relation to resilience and coping strategies? What recommendations can be suggested for implementation of the research findings in relation to public policy and in societal/institutional praxis to enhance public mental health promotion? Which societal institutions should have responsibility for the promotion of the existential dimension of public mental health?

Contact Person: Professor Valerie DeMarinis

Immigration and Acculturation

This research area includes projects on distinct research populations. One large project focuses on Iraqi refugees and their resettlement in Sweden. The aims for this research are: to determine the role  of  religio-cultural  resources  and  problems  for  mental  health  among  Christian and Muslim Iraqi refugees; to explore the role of religio-cultural processes and practices of enculturation and acculturation processes among Iraqis; and, to contribute to method development for the inclusion of religio-cultural assessment in Swedish immigration research. Central research questions include: What characterizes the Iraqis’ enculturation and acculturation processes, both in adulthood and through earlier life phases in life? What characterizes the religio-cultural processes that assist or impair their mental health function?

A second project examines the Syrian refugee population — those who, due to the civil war in Syria, are in transit countries, such as Turkey, as well as those who have recently been granted asylum in Sweden. The aims are: to determine the daily life use of religio-cultural resources by Syrian immigrants and refugees; to explore the psychological conditions and well-being among Syrians; to assess perceptions and explanations of mental illness related to religio-cultural resources among the Syrians; and, to map changes in the networks related to immigration and mental- illness and health. Central research questions are: What characterizes the adaptive responses (the identification of risk and protective factors) among Syrians in terms of religio- cultural resources and problems? Do any mental health and existential effects result from a lack of a functioning system of existential worldview orientation among the Syrian refugees, and if so, how do they describe and adapt to this situation?

Contact Person: Associate Professor Önver Cetrez