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An ethnographic study of schizophrenia in Zimbabwe: The role of culture, faith, and religion


Chidarikire, S and Cross, M and Skinner, I and Cleary, M, An ethnographic study of schizophrenia in Zimbabwe: The role of culture, faith, and religion, Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 22, (2) pp. 173-194. ISSN 1934-9637 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

DOI: doi:10.1080/19349637.2018.1531366


This ethnographic study explored the experiences of eighteen Shona speakers living with schizophrenia in Zimbabwe. Data were collected using semistructured interviews, observations and field notes. Almost three in four participants reported having a strong religious affiliation and believed mental illnesses are caused by spirits (zvirwere zvemweya) or witchcraft (zvirwere zvevaroyi). Cultural and religious beliefs influenced the perceived causes of schizophrenia, symptom explanations, and help-seeking behavior. Schizophrenia compounded social disadvantage, often leading to family disruption, isolation, homelessness, and wandering. Faith and religious belonging provided participants access to support and fostered hope, resilience, a sense of self-worth and greater quality of life.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:culture, faith, ethnography, mental health, quality of life, religion, schizophrenia, spirituality, traditional healing, Zimbabwe
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Mental health nursing
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Chidarikire, S (Dr Shep Chidarikire)
UTAS Author:Cross, M (Dr Merylin Cross)
UTAS Author:Skinner, I (Professor Isabelle Skinner)
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:128815
Year Published:2020 (online first 2018)
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2018-10-16
Last Modified:2022-07-05
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