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Title: How do members of New Religious Movements manage beliefs others might find unusual? : a grounded theory
Author: Coleman, Naomi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 9371
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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Most research focusing on unusual beliefs investigates people in psychiatric services who have been labelled delusional. We know relatively little about how people outside of services manage beliefs that others may find unusual. Considering research demonstrating that delusional ideation in the general population is common, this study sought to explore how people manage these beliefs. Individuals from New Religious Movements (NRMs) were selected as previous research indicated they may score highly on measures of delusional ideation yet show low levels of distress in relation to their beliefs. A social constructionist version of Grounded Theory was used to analyse transcripts of eight interviews of people from four different NRMs: The Aetherius Society; EnlightenNext; the Raelian Movement and the Spiritualist Church. The mean age of the group was 50.6 years and six participants described their ethnicity as White British and two participants as White Other. The interviews covered four main topics: the history of their religious beliefs; the significance of the beliefs; how individuals talked about their beliefs and emotional states relating to their beliefs. In addition, the Peters et a/., Delusions Inventory (1999) was used to measure delusional ideation and to contextualise the participants' beliefs in relation to previous studies. A theory of how the participants made sense of and accommodated their beliefs in terms of their own meaning frameworks and others' beliefs systems without related disruption or distress was developed. Individuals utilised both intellectual and emotional resources. Social factors, including others' responses, impacted significantly on the way individuals accommodated their beliefs. It is recommended that clinicians explore the values and beliefs of individuals and consider social support that may be available in order to enable individuals to make sense of their experiences within their own meaning frameworks and to limit distress.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available