The social distance


The main aim of the study was to see whether there is difference in the attitude of old women's living in old age homes and young women's regarding social distance from mentally ill people and possessed people. A sample of 60 women's is used 30 of each old and young. Social distance scale was used to measure the distance. Results show that there is a difference in attitude of old and young women regarding both mentally ill people and possessed people. Old women's shows more distance from mentally ill people whereas young women's shows less distance. It's vice versa in the case of possessed people. Old women's shows less distance from possessed people and young women's shows more distance.


Demon possessionis the act of one or moredemonsof entering a human or animal body, alive or dead, or an object, with the intention of using it for a purpose, normally evil, but also as a punishment. This term is more commonly applied to living persons. It is said that a demonic possession can be "cured" by anexorcism that enables the exorcist to expel thedemons from the possessed body or object.

Manyreligionscontain some concept of demons and demon possession, but the details vary considerably. Many mainstream Christian churches, particularly in western society, either reject the concept entirely or strongly deemphasize it, instead supporting the mainstream scientific belief that supposed demon possessions are in fact a symptom of mental illness. Muslim writings tell of a group of evil beings, calledjinn, who cause destruction and preside over places where evil activities take place.

Some commentators claim that possession is a culture-bound syndromebut others argue that, although the manifestations may differaccording to culture, the underlying theme is always the same. "Spirit possessionisparanormal,supernatural, psychologicaland/or superstitiousspirits,gods, demons/daemons (demonic possession),animas,ET's or other disincarnate or extraterrestrial entities taking control of ahumanbody, resulting in noticeable changes inhealthandbehavior. The concept of spiritual possession exists in Christianity and other contemporaryreligions and can also be seen in themythology,regression therapyandfolkloreof many cultures." "The worddemonoriginated from the ancient Greek worddemonwhich referred to beings with special powers which placed them between people and the gods." (Encyclopedia).

As we know by ancient inscriptions,Sumerians,AkkadiansandChaldeans, who shared some religious beliefs, described several procedures to protect people against demonic possession. There are also written about exorcisms to expel demons from humans once they had invaded their bodies. Thepriestswho practiced exorcisms in these nations were called Ashipy and Mashmashu. Nevertheless there are no descriptions of specific punishments against possessed persons as it happened later many times inChristian societies.Shamaniccultures also believe in demon possession andshamans(witch doctors) perform exorcisms too; in these cultures often diseases are attributed to the presence of anevilspiritor demon in the body of the patient.

In the Middle Age, a list of symptoms required to confirm demonic possession was carefully prepared. Those symptoms are: 1- Ability to speak and/or understand one or more unknown languages; 2- Ability to find secret things, read the mind, and divine future happenings; 3- Ability to make physical efforts abnormal for that person; 4- The act of spitting or vomiting every object the demons would have obligated the person to swallow. Normally, only one of these symptoms was enough to determine possession. It was said by people of that time that possessed persons had an ugly and terrible aspect, wrathful eyes, bluish lips, foam coming off their mouth; their body was almost permanently shaking, when they spoke their tongue came abnormally out, their speech consisted mainly incursesandblasphemies, and they were able to imitate animal sounds as well as to speak with human-like voices with a strange sound and a different pitch of theirs.

The E-Syndrome is the title of a marvelous book (in Dutch) written by Roger Vanderdonck, a psychologist and clairvoyant, in Flanders, Belgium (he died in 1991). He discovered that certain people cannot be hypnotized or it is very difficult to hypnotize them. He discovered that a large percentage of those people were "possessed". The totality of their symptoms he called the E-Syndrome or Entity-Syndrome, what refers to the presence of one or more spirits in a particular person. The symptoms are not all the same and vary from person to person some common symptoms are: - 1. Head complaints are very frequent, from a normal 'pressure', or 'band ' around the head to headaches and migraines. 2. Neck complaints, often unilateral, with or without pain, stiffness of the muscles. 3. Internal disorders, as with the digestive system, heart problems and breathing problems. 4. Depression and related symptoms, 5. Suicide thought or attempts.6. Fatigued and being overly tired. 7. Relationship problems or social problems 9. Rarely there are direct signs for the presence of an entity. The patient feels the presence of an entity in him, or that an entity is always watching him, or is doing things he doesn't want to do, or is even physically pushed by an unseen entity. Other signs are: feeling a cold wind, hearing of sounds, seeing images, feeling pressure on the body and etc.

Presently also many people believe the symptoms of possession are: - 1- talking in different pitch (particularly higher); 2- mood swings (generally angry); 3-tempting for sweets; 4- throwing objects; 5- frequent changing of facial expressions.

MortonKlass(Rowman & Littlefield) in book Mind Over Mind: The Archaeology & Psychology Of Spirit Possession explores the phenomenon of spirit possession from both anthropological and psychological perspectives. Spirit possession is ritually important in many cultures from India to Brazil to Madagascar, but has tended to be narrowly regarded from modern American and European perspective as a species of multiple personality disorder. The late Klass, a professor of anthropology, has many more illuminating things to report about these widespread religious phenomena, and it is hoped that this little volume is given the attention it deserves.

Spirit possession is certainly interesting in itself; it is colorful and exotic, frequently involving such attention capturing behavior as trance, fire walking, seemingly wonder healing, and other even more unusual and spectacular practices.

Every major religious and cultural tradition worldwide has espoused the idea of spirit possession and the need for some form of exorcism. The rites of exorcism have included the use of prayers, commands, fumigations (burning of dung), holy water, hellebore, rue, salt, and roses. In some cultures the exorcist functioned in much the same way doctors do now; people would visit the exorcist seeking a cure for illness, misfortune, or bad luck. The middle Ages (500-1500AD) saw a revival of ancient superstition and demonology. The treatment of mental illnesses was primarily left to the clergy who believed evil spirits were the cause. The devils were exorcised. " Dr. C. Fred Dickason, chairman of the Theology Department at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, relates a number of cases of demonic possession through ancestral lines in his bookDemon Possession and the Christian(1987). In one case, a Chicago-area pastor consulted Dickason to receive his advice concerning his father, who had been invaded by demonic spirits because his mother (the pastor's grandmother) had been heavily involved in occult practices. The entities had begun to enter the pastor's young daughter, but alert to possession, he prayed with his wife that the spirits be dismissed from her. With a variety of techniques which caused physical pain."(Encyclopedia).

Occasionally tramp souls take possession of someone's mind and body but only of people who frequently keep their mind in a blank state with no thoughts for long periods of time. These people have weakened their minds and became vulnerable and mentally unstable due to karmic attraction and mental emptiness and they unconsciously invite the vagrant tramp spirits inside their bodies. Devilish souls can never enter minds of spiritually advanced people.It is believed that devilish soul enter body of person who is very beautiful especially long hair, beautiful eyes, people who are spiritually weak and people whose thinking is bad.

People who were evil on earth does not become angel after death but become devil .Those individuals who have left their bodies in a state of sin as with those who foolishly and ruthlessly committed suicide become demons. These tramp spirits hunt for people with karmic similarities and are attracted to them by their negative thoughts.

Reverend Daniel Gagnon stated that he had once considered himself scientific, pragmatic, but he had changed his mind. "Psychology is where you begin, but there is an area that science cannot explain," he said.

In 1973 horror filmThe Exorcistwas rereleased, the film was based on the best-selling novel by William Peter Blatty and was directed by William Friedkin. After this movie, demons became all the more real when people realized that possession could occur to their child, to their spouse, even to them. Father Merrin, the exorcist in the film, uses the actual Roman Ritual of exorcism that was created by the Roman Catholic Church in 1614, and the repetitious chanting of the actors performing the rites gave the presentation an added aura of reality and of participation in a supernatural event. In the 1990s, Cuneo says that there is an "underground network" of exorcists numbering in the hundreds, and a "bewildering variety of exorcisms being performed."

As long as there are human beings who believe in supernatural powers, there will be exorcists who will be summoned to rid the innocent of the demons who have possessed them. A survey of its readers conducted by Selfmagazine in 1997 revealed that 65 percent of those surveyed believed in the Devil; and the results of a Gallup poll released in June 2001 indicated that 41 percent of adult Americans believe that the Devil or his demons can possess humans.

While many priests appear to have the attitude that a little exorcism could never hurt anyone, Father Joseph Mahoney, a Catholic chaplain in Detroit who works with individuals suffering from multiple personality disorder, sees it quite differently. He believes that an exorcism can be "extremely destructive" when applied to patients with undiagnosed multiple personality disorders, and he refers to research carried out by the Royal Ottawa Hospital in Canada, which concluded that the process of exorcism could create new personalities in such subjects.

"Any illness with a psychological origin manifested either in symptom of emotional distress or in abnormal behavior. Most mental disorders can be broadly classified as either psychoses or neuroses (seeneurosis;psychosis). Psychoses (e.g.,schizophreniaandbipolar disorder) are major mental illnesses characterized by severe symptoms such as delusions,hallucinations, and an inability to evaluate reality in an objective manner. Neuroses are less severe and more treatable illnesses, includingdepression,anxiety, andparanoiaas well asobsessive-compulsive disorders andpost-traumatic stress disorders. Some mental disorders, such asAlzheimer disease, are clearly caused by organic disease of the brain, but the causes of most others are either unknown or not yet verified. Schizophrenia appears to be partly caused by inherited genetic factors. Some mood disorders, such as mania and depression, may be caused by imbalances of certainneurotransmitters in the brain; they are treatable by drugs that act to correct these imbalances (seepsychopharmacology). Neuroses often appear to be caused by psychological factors such as emotional deprivation, frustration, or abuse during childhood, and they may be treated throughpsychotherapy. Certain neuroses, particularly the anxiety disorders known asphobias, may represent maladaptive responses built up into the human equivalent of conditioned reflexes."(Encyclopedia)

Mental illness is any disease or condition affecting the brain that influences the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and/or relates to others and to his or her surroundings. Although the symptoms of mental illness can range from mild to severe and are different depending on the type of mental illness, a person with an untreated mental illness often is unable to cope with life's daily routines and demands.

InPsychiatry, demon possession is considered a form ofinsanity. It can be a "simple"hysteria, amania, a psychosisor a case of split personality (schizophrenia), depending on the patient'ssymptoms. Specifically, there is a mental disease called demonomania or demonopathy; it is amonomaniain which the patient believes that he or she is possessed by one or more demons. From another point of view, those who accuse others of being demon-possessed have to be mentioned too.

Medicine can explain some aspects of the "symptoms" shown by those persons allegedly possessed; it is known that "supernatural strength" is common in some cases of insanity (maniacs,energumens, etc.).

Multiple personality disorder (MPD) and schizophrenia are sometimes associated with spirit possession. In MPD the victim assumes a solidified identity of two or more "persons". The personalities can be incredibly diverse claiming to be of a different gender, race, age, and family origin. Intelligent quotient levels have been known to change between the different personalities; distinct personality profiles accompany each identity; and personality specific mental disorders may also occur. Personalities are linked to past traumatic episodes. Each discrete personality retains the person's age, characteristics, and emotional mood of the traumatic event- they are literally stuck or frozen in the incident. Schizophrenia is distinctly different from MPD.

The underlying processes of exorcism also have much in common with Mesmerism. Mesmer's success in vanquishing unwanted behaviors and symptoms were eerily similar to that of popular exorcist Johann Gassner; yet Mesmer's method did not rely upon an attendant ritual and superstitious trappings.

In theSpirit Releasement Therapy, Technique Manualpsychological factors are discussed which inadvertently bring the notions of spirit possession and psychological explanations much closer together. The psychology of Carl Jung provides a spacious container for considering the psychological elements involved with spirit possession.He sees possessing spirits directly related to archetype.

In many parts of Nigeria, mental illness is attributable to various causative factors. Nevertheless, all seem to explain mental illness as an affliction on man from the spirit world. In other parts of the country, people suffering from mental illness are seen as being the architect of their own misfortune. They are seen as being serving the consequences of one evil or the other they have committed in the time past. As such, when someone is mentally ill it is unusual for his people to seek orthodox medical care. They rather would consult the native medicine man since the cause of the problem, for them certainly is from the spirit world. This practice will affect both the prognosis and the overall outcome of the illness.

spirit possession is often described as episodes of a complete loss of control and consciousness -during which the spirit exerts complete power over the possessed body, displaying his (or her) control by making the body do extreme or inappropriate things. It is described by scholars as akin to what we in the world of the diagnostic statistic manual and International Classification of Diseases know as an episode of dissociation - a state in which a person is so lost in internal goings-on that he or she loses touch with external reality. Dissociation often occurs in response to traumatic experiences, and may thus be a part of disorders like post traumatic stress disorders.

Demon possession is essentially a spiritual problem, but mental illness is a multifactorial affair, in which spiritual, social, psychological and physical factors may all play an etiological role. The relationship between these concepts is therefore complex. It is certainly possible that someone who is demon-possessed have been misdiagnosed as mentally ill and placed in mental hospitals, but the classic symptoms of schizophrenia are different from New Testament demon possession.

There are a lot of people who say demon possession is just symptoms of either a mental illness or some other medical condition, or sickness. This can be true at times when the person does have a medical problem, but in a true case of demon possession, there will be signs or activity that no sickness or disease can manifest, such as: 1. Knowledge of future events and hidden things - Demon possessed people have been known to gain a sudden knowledge about things that was never shared with others, or to even reveal future events that come true.2. Superhuman strength - Possessed individuals have been known to break ropes, chains and other restraints with ease, and it often takes up to 4 full grown men to hold a demon possessed child down.3. Speaking in unknown or strange languages - Demon possessed individuals who have no prior knowledge of foreign languages have been known to start taking fluently in strange languages or foreign tongues, such as Aramaic, Latin and other languages. 4. Levitation and Psychic Powers - Demon possessed individuals have been known to levitate and hover in the air in front of other witnesses, or cause objects in the room to move by themselves.5. Smells - Often in the presence of a demon possessed individual the surrounding air will become so horribly smelling that other people will get sick, the smell has been described as the smell of cancer or death, or even sulphur.5. Reaction to Holy or sacred items - Demon possessed individuals have been known to fear or even react violently to crosses, bible reading, holy water or other sacred relics and symbols. In one case of demon possession in Pennsylvania in the early 1980s a young man, who was possessed had his head covered with a sack, so he could not see. He held his hands behind his back and a few different items were placed in his hands, when a cross was dropped into his hand, it burned his skin and became hot to others that touched it.

There is a mental illness that is perhaps the most misunderstood as demonization. This illness is called Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. This illness is characterized by the afflicted person hearing voices; seeing people and things no one else sees; speaking in different voices; having memory lapses too great to be accounted for by ordinary forgetfulness; self-destructive behaviors and unexplainable physical symptoms.

Sometimes people with this illness are convinced that they are demon possessed. The voices they hear do claim to be demons when they are actually not. In North America, this mental illness is well understood and successfully treated.

There are several instances where psychological factors can be signs of demonic possession. The psychological signs of a potential possession include a number of symptoms that can often be confused with signs of mental disorders and illnesses. It will be up to the demonologist to assess every situation on a case by case basis to determine whether or not the symptoms someone is displaying are related to a mental disorder or if the symptoms are signs of demonic possession. When in doubt, a psychological evaluation is recommended whenever possible so that mental illness can be ruled out of the equation.

A survey by the Department of Health has found that "Public attitudes towards people withmental health problems remain broadly sympathetic despite some signs that prejudice and fear have slightly increased. The general public in England is still relatively understanding about mental illness:- Nearly 9 out of 10 think those with mental health problems deserve our sympathy- More than 4 out of 5 think society needs to be more tolerant towards mentally-ill people- 9 out of 10 believe society has a responsibility to provide the best possible care- Nearly 4 out of 5 disagree with the idea that people with mental health problems are a burden on societyThe vast majority of people remain supportive of the integration of those with mental illness into the community. Around 3 in 4 responded positively that no-one has the right to exclude people with mental illness from their neighborhood that the best therapy is being part of the community and that mental health services should be largely community-based."

Possession states are still commonly seen in developing societies as acceptable cultural phenomena in normal persons as well as in those with psychiatric illness. Possession and mental illness is often been confused by people. People believe that mental illness is possession in many parts of the world. Many researches are done on this topic.

The faith healers are aware of distinction between mental illness and possession. When people come to them treatment are given accordingly.

The faith healers are aware of distinction between mental illness and possession. When people come to them treatment are given accordingly.

Research done (Spirit Possession and Exorcism in the Treatment of a Bedouin Psychiatric Patient) by AleanAl-Krenawiand JohnR.Graham says that "A male Bedouin psychiatric patient was initially misdiagnosed and treated as a paranoid schizophrenic. The modern mental health care system correctly understood theformof the patient's symptoms, auditory and visual hallucinations. It did not however at first appreciate their content or cultural significance. The patient had unresolved anger toward his family which was manifested in an angry exchange with his mother. This exchange created guilt and the belief that the patient had sinned against God and was possessed by demons. A psychiatric social worker was able to reconcile the patient with his mother and to incorporate a traditional Bedouin healer, the Dervish, to exorcise the patient. The patient was cured by theDervish, re-diagnosed as a neurotic by the modern system, and continued successfully with both systems for several months in follow-up treatment before being discharged."

Research (Spirit possession in South Asia, dissociation or hysteria?) by RichardJ.Castillo says Psychoanalytic theory appears flawed in its notions of universal oedipal conflict and repression, and unsuitable for the study of pathological spirit possession in South Asia. The biological theory is no more effective in this analysis because mental illnesses are constituted within culture-bound categories of experience. Dissociation theory offers a better theoretical tool for this type of research.

Research (The possessive states disorder: The diagnosis of demonic possession) by T.CraigIsaacs proves that possessions do exist as a phenomena independent of the current commonly accepted forms of psychopathology. A diagnostic description of possession is then presented to enable a greater ability to differentiate cases of possession from the present categories of the diagnostic statistic manual.

Article "Stressed, Depressed, or Bewitched?" by Vikram Patel, Jane Mutambirwa and Sekai Nhiwatiwa states that mental illness is an important cause of disability in sub-Saharan African countries and is rarely covered in health-related development activity. They emphasize the importance of gaining a sympathetic understanding of the religious beliefs and social contexts of psycho-social distress states, rather than simply translating concepts and ideas developed in the societies of Europe and North America.

Province of China who believed they were possessed. By using a method ofstructuredinterview focused on clinical characteristics associated withpossession phenomena was developed and administered to 20 patientsat eight hospitals in the province. All patients had been giventhe Chinese diagnosis of yi-ping (hysteria). Mean age of subject's was 37 years. Most were women from rural areas withlittle education. Shows that the major events reported to precede possessionincluded interpersonal conflicts, subjectively meaningful circumstances,illness, and death of an individual or dreaming of a deadindividual. Possessing agents were thought to be spirits ofdead individuals, deities, animals, and devils. 20% of subjects reported multiple possessions. Almost all subjects manifested the two symptomsof loss of control over their actions and acting differently.They frequently showed loss of awareness of surroundings, lossof personal identity, inability to distinguish reality fromfantasy, change in tone of voice, and loss of perceived sensitivityto pain.Findings indicate that thedisorder is a syndrome with distinct clinical characteristicsthat adheres most closely to the Diagnostic Statistic Manual-IV diagnosis of dissociativetrance disorder under the category of dissociative disordernot otherwise specified. Possession is a culturally influenced explanation for illness.

Study "Illness causal beliefs in Turkish immigrants "by Harry Minas,Steven Klimidis andCan Tuncer tells that beliefs in natural causes were more frequent than beliefs in supernatural causes. A small but significant number of participants also endorsed metaphysical beliefs. The lower frequency of supernatural beliefs was not surprisingas modernization change thinking of people. Even education plays a very important role in this change of people's minds.

Research done (Possession and jinn) tells us about two case histories and some of the dilemmas faced by clinicians. Case 1 is if a 25-year-old woman from Iraq with no previous psychiatric history graduallywithdrew from other people, became uncommunicative and stopped eatingand drinking. Investigations revealed no organic disease andsevere depressive illness was diagnosed. She underwent electro-convulsivetherapy without much improvement. Her family, believing herto be possessed by jinn but not wanting to say so to the doctorsfor fear of being labeled as superstitious, took her to a localfaith healer, who offered to treat her in the traditional Islamic way. After a few sessions of combineddhikrandruqyahher conditionimproved and she resumed eating and drinking. On recovery shehad no explanation for what had happened, though she rememberedthe sequence of events. She stated that she had been aware ofher surrounding, but had been unable to initiate anything. She denied feeling low in mood at the time. 5 years later she remainswell and without medication. Case 2 is of a woman of 35 experienced episodes of high fever and confusionduring which her speech became incomprehensible. A local generalpractitioner diagnosed typhoid fever and prescribed antibiotics.The patient and her family, however, thought that she was possessedby jinn so she did not adhere to the treatment. She was takento a local faith healer, who reinforced their views and treated herin the traditional Islamic way. However, her condition deterioratedover the next few weeks and she started to have generalizedepileptic seizures. On admission to hospital she was found tohave cerebral malaria, for which she was treated successfully. Research concludes that the prevalence of jinnpossession states remains unknown. When medical and psychiatricservices become involved, an inclusive, culturally sensitive approachis good medical practice.

Clinicians need to be familiar with culturally abnormal forms of possession which are manifestations of psychotic illness that benefit from western psychiatric treatment is stated by research (Possession states in Northern Sri Lanka) done by Daya Somasundaram,T Thivakaran,Dinesh Bhugra.

Christianity had two traditions of interpreting people with disabilities. The older tradition viewed disability as the result of sin. This tradition punished, separated, and restricted people with disabilities. It barred them from full participation in the Church and its rituals. As Christianity developed, a second tradition emerged that saw people with disabilities as needing compassion and that God accepted everyone.-Article (Western Christianity's two historical treatments of people with disabilities or mental illness) by Herbert C. Covey.

A cross-sectional survey was carried out in three different communities in southwestern Nigeria it stated that 4.5% of the participants categorized as having low social distance, 24.6% as having moderate social distance and 60.9% as having high social distance towards the mentally ill. People over 50 years perceived supernatural causation of mental illness and perceived 'dangerousness' stereotype of the mentally ill. (Social distance towards people with mental illness in southwestern Nigeria by Abiodun O. Adewuya; Roger O. A. Makanjuol)

Study done to assess public perceptions and attitudes towards and causal beliefs about mental health problems in Singapore - a multi-racial country in South-East Asia indicated that about 38.3% of participants believed that people with mental health problems were dangerous and 49.6% of participants felt that the public should be protected from them. A negative attitude towards mental health problems correlated with greater age and less education.

Study done to examine the level of social distance of students in a Nigerian university towards people with mental illness says that 65.1% of the respondents categorized as having high social distance towards the mentally ill people. The predictors of high social distance towards the mentally ill include female gender studying a non-medical course and not having a family member with mental illness.

Study was done to view doctors' attitude towards people with mental illness in Western Nigeria showed that beliefs in supernatural causes were prevalent. The mentally ill were perceived as dangerous and their prognosis perceived as poor. High social distance was found amongst 64.1% and the associated factors include not having a family member/friend with mental illness age less than 45 years less than 10 years of clinical experience and female sex.

Negative social responses to persons with mental retardation and mental illness have persisted across generations despite improved care, legislative support, and a more sophisticated medical understanding of the causes and origins of these disabilities.A high degree of social rejection of persons with mental illness was also found in a study that compared reactions to the behaviors of individuals labeled as mentally ill and those labeled as physically ill .Findings confirmed more willingness to interact with an individual labeled as physically ill than with a similar individual labeled as mentally ill.

Research done to test nursing students' attitudes towards mental illness, and to assess the effectiveness of teaching and contact on changing nursing students' attitudes about mental illness. Shows that (1) nursing students were found to have positive attitudes towards mental illness in four scales, (2) no significant differences were found between students' attitudes towards mental illness and demographics, and (3) there was a significant difference in attitudes towards the mental illness between students who have previous contact with mental patients and those who did not.

A study was designed to examine the knowledge, attitude and beliefs about causes, manifestations and treatment of mental illness among adults in a rural community in northern Nigeria. It resulted that about 46% of respondents preferred orthodox medical care for the mentally sick while 34% were more inclined to spiritual healing. Almost half of the respondents harbored negative feelings towards the mentally ill. Literate respondents were seven times more likely to exhibit positive feelings towards the mentally ill as compared to non-literate subjects.

Study done in sub-Saharan Africa shows that Negative viewsof mental illness were widespread, with as many as 96.5% believing that people with mental illness are dangerous becauseof their violent behavior. Most would not tolerate even basic social contacts with a mentally ill person: 82.7% would be afraid to have a conversation with a mentally illperson and only 16.9% would consider marrying one.

Study was done to see the Attitudes toward deviant behavior that might indicate psychiatric disorder were investigated among the Inuit of Northern Qubec (Nunavik) respondents were randomly presented with one of six different vignettes that described a man with strange behavior who was either threatening or withdrawn and whose problem was labeled eitherisumaluttuq(burdened or weighed down by thoughts), demon possession, or mental illness. Respondents rated their willingness to live, work, or hunt with this person and allow him into their family on a social distance scale. Significant predictors of greater social distance were female gender. Results indicated that people showed greater likelihood towards demon possession than mentally ill.

The basic objective if this study is to see how people in India react to mental illness and possession by spirits. India is a multi-cultural country we have different religion like Hindu, Muslim, Christian etc but as we can see every religion believes in possession by spirits and have a different way of dealing with it like Hindu and Muslim believes in religious healer and Christians believe in exorcism. Indian people are believed to be very religious superstitious in nature. History shows that people are often confused between mental illness and possession by spirits. Both have lot of things in common but still we see in Indian nature that people support possessed people but have a negative attitude towards mentally ill people. Here we are testing that {hypothesis} there is a difference in the attitude of old women living in old age home and young women regarding social distance from mentally ill people and possessed people. This study will tell us about our people about how women react to these people as women are believed to be more superstitious than men. It will tell us is education and growing science changing minds of Indian women or not. Both mentally ill and possessed people need support from people this study will tell us are people ready to support them of maintain distance from these people.


Demonic possessionis often the term used to describe thecontrol over a human formby ademon. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include: erasedmemoriesorpersonalities, convulsions, "fits" andfaintingas if one were dying.Unlike inchannelingor other forms of possession, the subject has no control over the possessing entity and so it will persist until forced to leave the victim, usually through a form ofexorcism. Other descriptions include access to hidden knowledge and foreign languages, drastic changes in vocal intonation and facial structure, sudden appearance of injury (scratches, bite marks) or lesions, and superhuman strength. Many cultures andreligionscontain some concept of demonic possession, but the details vary considerably.

Amental disorderormental illnessis a psychological or behavioral pattern that occurs in an individual and is thought to cause distress or disability that is not expected as part of normal development or culture. The recognition and understanding of mental disorders has changed over time and across cultures. Definitions, assessments, and classifications of mental disorders can vary, but guideline criteria listed in the many cases there is no single accepted or consistent cause of mental disorders, although they are often explained in terms of adiathesis-stress modelandbio psychosocialmodel. Mental disorders have been found to be common, with over a third of people in most countries reporting sufficient criteria at some point in their life. Services for mental disorders may be based in hospitals or in the community.Mental health professionalsdiagnose individuals using different methodologies, often relying on case history and interview.Psychotherapyandpsychiatric medicationare two major treatment options, as well as supportive interventions and self-help. Treatment may be involuntary where legislation allows. Several movements campaign for changes to services and attitudes.

SUBJECT:-In this research we selected 60 people in two groups. Group one is of older women between age group 60-70years and living in old age home. Group two is of young college going women of age group 18-21years.

MATERAIL:-To measure the social distance from mentally ill and possessed social distance scale made by Dr Kamal Dewedi, Dr Shoba Bhatnagar and Dr Usha Asthana was used this scale is made on the basis of Bogardus' Social Distance Sale (1925) and Crespi's Social Rejection Thermometer (1940) it is used to measure social distance from one or more groups. This scale is in Hindi as we are doing research on old people in old age home and most of the old people in old age home can't read, write and understand English. This scale consists of 12 questions assessing the willingness to interact with the person described in various social situations, e.g., "I can marry this person?"

DESIGN:-In this research we are trying to find out difference in views of old (age - 60 to 70 years) and young (age - 18 to 21 years) women regarding social distance (dependent variable) from mentally ill people and possessed people (independent variable). Social distancedescribes thedistancebetween different groups of society.

PROCEDURE: - For the purpose of collecting data of group 1 that is for old people living in old age home we went to an old age home and 30 old women of age between 60 - 70 who can read, write and understand Hindi were selected. Then were given questioners and then they were told to fill the details about themselves asked in questioner like name, age, etc. For young girls that is group 2 girls between age group of 18-21 and who can read, write and understand Hindi were randomly selected and questioner was given and then they were first told to sign consent form then were ask to fill details about themselves asked in questioner. Both were instructed same that there are two groups of people A and B. A are the people who is mentally ill that is they are mentally imbalance and B are the people possessed that is the one who are captured by spirits. There are 12 questions read the question and on the basis of that question mark the one between A and B with whom they want to maintain relation they were guided whenever they needed help. Like this data was collected for both the groups.


Hypothesis is that there is a difference in the attitude of younger and older women (living in old age home) regarding social distance from mentally ill people and possessed people.

There are 2 groups of women old {60 - 70 years} and young {18- 21 years} with 30 women in each. Mean is nothing but average. Mean of older women's scores of possession is 44.3.Mean of older women's scores of mental illness is 34.8.Mean of younger women's scores of possession is28.0. Mean of younger women's scores of mental illness is49.5.Median is the score of the central item that divides the series in two equal parts .Median of older women's scores of possession is 62.42. Median of older women's scores of mental illness is 15.5. Median of younger women's scores of possession is 13.19. Median of younger women's scores of mental illness is 61.62.Mode is the score which occurs most frequently. Mode in older women's sore of possession is 62.42. Mode in older women's score of mental illness is 21.16. Mode in younger women's score of possession is 13.19. Mode in younger women's score of mental illness is 61.62. Standard deviation shows how much variation there are from the "average" (mean).Standard deviation for older women's scores of possession is 21.54.Standard deviation for older women's scores of mental illness is 22.0. Standard deviation for younger women's score of possession is 13.1. Standard deviation for younger women's score of mental illness is 13.5.To find out whether there is a difference in the attitude of young and old women's t-test was used. An independent t-test was conducted for scores of mental illness of both the groups {old and young} result is 14.73 and degree of freedom as 58it shows that there is significant difference between both the scores at both 0.05 and 0.01 levels. An independent t-test was conducted for scores of possession of both the groups {old and young} result is 16.22 and with degree of freedom as 58 it shows that there is significant difference between both the scores at both 0.05 and 0.01 levels.


The purpose of this study was to see whether there is s difference in the views of women in India regarding maintain social distance from mentally ill and people and people who are believed to be possessed by spirits. People are often confused in between mental illness and possessed by spirits they go religious healers to cure mental illness.

To find whether difference between the attitude of old and young {women's} exist or not we used t-test and results indicate that there is significant difference between attitude of old and young women's towards mentally ill people and possessed people .Unpaired t-test was calculated between both {young and older women's} scores of mental illness results tell that t- test is significant at both 0.01 and 0.05 levels which shows that difference exist between the attitude of young and old women's towards mentally ill people. Average of scores of mental illness of younger women's {M= 50.18} is more than that of older women's {M=33.45} which in turn tell that young women's shows more positive attitude towards mentally ill people that old women's that is young women's maintain less distance from mentally ill people whereas old women's maintain more distance from mentally ill people {more the average less is the social distance from the group}.whereas opposite was indicated in the case of scores of possession. When a unpaired t-test was calculated between both {young and old women's} scores even here results shows that significant difference exist between the averages that is there is difference in the attitude of young and old women towards possessed people. Average of scores of possessed of young women's {M=25.31} is less that the average of score of possession of old women's {M=44.3} which tells us that old women's have positive attitude towards possessed people than young women's that is old women's maintain less social distance from possessed people whereas young women's maintain more distance from possessed people {more the average less is the social distance from the group}.

"Historically, persons with disabilities have been confronted with not only the physical and mental impediments of their disability, but also with the accompanying social stigma and negative social attitudes. A persistent negative attitude and social rejection of people with disabilities is evident throughout history and across cultures." (Phyllis A. Gordo;Jennifer Chiriboga Tantillo;David Feldma; & Kristin Perrone. Attitudes regarding interpersonal relationships with persons with mental illness and mental retardation. Journal of Rehabilitation,Jan-March, 2004) "A high degree of social rejection of persons with mental illness was also found in a study that compared reactions to the behaviors of individuals labeled as mentally ill and those labeled as physically ill (Socall & Holtgraves, 1992)."Attitudes toward deviant behavior that might indicate psychiatric disorder were investigated among the Inuit of Northern Qubec (Nunavik). Results indicated people shows grater social distance from mentally people than possessed people. Significant predictors of greater social distance were female gender, more education, less familiarity with the behavior, and perception of the person as less likely to recover. (Kirmayer, Laurence J. M.D.; Fletcher, Christopher M. M.Sc.; Boothroyd, Lucy J. M.Sc. Inuit Attitudes Toward Deviant Behavior: A Vignette Study. The Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, February 1997- Volume 185 - Issue 2 - pp 78-86). "The predictors of high social distance towards the mentally ill include female gender" (AbiodunO.Adewuya;& RogerO.A.Makanjuola. Social distance towards people with mental illness amongst Nigerian university students. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, November, 2005, Volume 40, 10.1007/s00127-005-0965-3).Study done Community study of knowledge of and attitude to mental illness in Nigeria shows that negative viewsof mental illness were widespread, with as many as 96.5% believing that people with mental illness are dangerous becauseof their violent behavior. Most would not tolerate even basicsocial contacts with a mentally ill person: 82.7% would be afraid to have a conversation with a mentally illperson and only 16.9% would consider marrying one. (Oye Gureje; Victor O. Lasebikan; Olusola Ephraim; Benjamin O. Olley; Lola Kola. Community study of knowledge of and attitude to mental illness in Nigeria. The British Journal of Psychiatry.) "Mentally ill people are met with a great deal of rejection by the German public. Alcohol dependants are rejected most, even more so than those suffering from schizophrenia."( Angermeyer MC;& Matschinger H. Social distance towards the mentally ill: results of representative surveys in the Federal Republic of Germany. Department of Psychiatry, University of Leipzig, Germany.)Literate people were seven times more likely to exhibit positive feelings towards the mentally ill as compared to non-literate people. ( Mohammed Kabir; Zubair Iliyasu; Isa S Abubaka;, & Muktar H Aliyu. Perception and beliefs about mental illness among adults in Karfi village, northern Nigeria. BMC Int Health Hum Rights.2004;4: 3.Published online 2004 August 20.doi: 10.1186/1472-698X-4-3.)

This study clearly shows that there is difference in attitude of young and old women on mentally ill people and possessed people older women's shows less social distance from possessed people whereas younger women shows less social distance from mentally ill people this difference might be because of various reasons like previously mental illness was often confused with mental illness and these people who were believed to be possessed where taken to religious healers, older women's are not educated and they are illiterate education changes mind of people and the younger women's are educated, older women's are superstitious whereas younger women's are much more scientific in nature etc. Even old people should be explained about mental illness so that they are not confused between mental illness and demon or spirit possession.

Future research can be based on topics like-1In this scientific and developed century do people still prefer to go to religious healers for cure of this mental illness believed as possession.2 Is the present generation also confused between mental illness and possession.3 To see whether even men think same or not that is difference in the attitude of old and young men regarding social distance from possessed people and people who are mentally ill.

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!