Spiritual Experiences Vital for Black American Women’s Mental Health


Spirituality and transcendental experiences are even more important than religion to the psychological well-being of many Black American women, according to a study in The Journal of Black Psychology. University of Illinois researchers noted that 84% of Black American women report that religion is very important to them; however, they hypothesized that previous studies had conflated spirituality and religion. “Where religiosity is typically defined in terms of participation in religious institutions and adherence to prescribed beliefs, spirituality is defined as one’s relationship with divinity and focuses primarily on subjective individual experiences of the transcendent,” wrote the researchers. They conducted surveys with 167 Black American women and found that experiences of the divine were the key contributing factors to mental health.

“This is one of the few published studies examining the unique influence of spirituality on psychological well-being,” wrote the researchers. “Spirituality’s full mediation of the relation between religiosity and mental health and between religiosity and life satisfaction suggests that person-to-person and person-to-divine being relationships in addition to meaning-making processes may be the underlying mechanism accounting for the link between religion and mental health and life satisfaction.”

The Influence of Religiosity and Spirituality on Psychological Well-Being Among Black Women (Reed, Tamilia D. and Helen A. Neville. Journal of Black Psychology. August 2014. doi: 10.1177/0095798413490956)


  1. This is a very important topic that I think applies much more widely than implied in this article because surveys show that more and more people, especially younger ones don’t necessarily identify with a main stream religion, but they do say that spirituality is very important to them

    It’s obvious that people in the U.S. and elsewhere have done much exploring in religions like Buddhism and various religious practices like meditation, chanting, mysticism, centering prayer and others while having as much enthusiasm about the Dalai Lama as they do the Pope, especially the charismatic, humble Pope Francis. It’s late and I know I’m not being really inclusive, so I’m sure others can add plenty of examples too. What’s great about this is seeing books like Jesus and the Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nat Hahn, a great guru and best selling author.

    I think it is horrific that since its inception the KOL’s and others dictating the direction of psychiatry did all in their ill gotten power to destroy the best aspects of family, religion, schools, community and other important social networks, so they could gain complete power and control over people to pursue their evil world order/global agenda while destroying these crucial social structures and supports. We can certainly see where these psychopaths have led each country on a virtual suicide mission while these parasites have sucked the globe dry of all of its resources and powers for their insatiable greed, lust for complete power/domination of others, sadism and reckless disregard for the welfare of others’ present and future.

    We at MIA can certainly see psychiatry’s great substitute religion with their great Satanic DSM Bible to prey on one and all from literal cradle to grave with their life destroying stigmas and brain disabling chemical, electrical and surgical lobotomies to create a docile, zombie like majority, so the psychopaths can exert the most vicious, pernicious social control and domination with no interference from those they threaten and terrorize with their latest fascist agendas.

    Perhaps such growing insecurity, misery and threat also motivate people to turn to more spiritual practices to find the best ways to cope and find remedies/answers about human suffering from both traditional and new religious/spiritual resources.

    I don’t mean to direct attention from the blacks of this article since I have always been very moved by the seeming immense faith of black slaves and those who gained their freedom and their focus on singing great hymns and gospel music that started many of them on the road to stardom. I love Tyler Perry and similar movies that focus on that type of deep spirituality and faith among black people and he include much singing and music in his shows. Heroes like Martin Luther King were/are amazingly influential spiritual leaders who continue to inspire us today including among psych survivors always quoting him and other black spiritual giants like Desmond Tutu. I’ll end with some of his many quotes:


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  2. I agree, Donna, psychiatry has bought out all, including the mainstream religions, with their power to defame, discredit, legally poison, torture, and try to kill, any human being they want – for any unethical or greed inspired reason they please. It’s sick and wrong.

    I am a spiritual white woman who shares a birthday with MLK Jr. And I, too, “had a dream.” On the night of 9.11.2001, I dreamt “the Holy Spirit moved me.” This resulted in my being misdiagnosed and drugged (according to my medical records, based upon lies from alleged child molesters and a pastor who had denied the granddaughter of the head of the investment committee of the board of pensions for that religion, a baptism at the exact moment the second plane hit he second World Trade center building) with psychological claims (in my medical records) that the Holy Spirit was a “voice” proving “psychosis.” Denial of the Holy Spirit is the one and only “unforgivable” sin in the entire Holy Bible.

    According to later medical records, another psychiatrist claimed I was “delusional” because I believed in God.

    In the US we have a constitution which is supposed to protect people from attempts at their life based upon Christian beliefs. The psychiatric profession apparently does not realize that poisoning people for belief in the Holy Spirit and God, so they may cover up child abuse for religions and easily recognized iatrogenesis for incompetent doctors, is illegal.

    I have yet to see justice for myself or my children, but do hope I am right that there is a good and just God, and that the Holy Spirit and God deniers who abused my children, then defamed and tortured me will be the “unforgiven.” It is not my right to forgive those unrepentant hypocrites, and numerous pastors in my new religion all agree my former religion’s greed inspired behavior is “unforgivable.” Only time will tell, however.

    Psychiatric practitioners, please stop denying others’ God given rights and the benefits of being a spiritual person. I now have medical evidence that Jesus died for my sins … fifteen times. So I still believe God has inspired a story, and I still allow the Holy Spirit to move me. And I have a legal right in the USA to believe in the Triune God. No doctors should have a legal right to poison people for belief in God. The psychiatric industry needs to learn to abide by the laws of my country, please.

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    • Well, here’s a definition of delusion according to Wikipedia:
      “A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. [1]”.
      Which basically means that anyone who’s religious can be deemed delusional (or anyone who has any kind of belief that is not based on “strong evidence” as defined by a psychiatrist).

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      • B,

        Ironically, by your definition, psychiatry is delusional because they have so called beliefs held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary such as their junk science voted in stigmas in their bogus DSM bible and their fraudulent claims of chemical imbalances, bad genes and other eugenics theories proven to be invalid to blame the victims of the power elite who they really serve. Of course, some are duped and some are complicit making them all equally dangerous. Plus, psychiatry is an atheistic religion that views humanity as mere animals subject to Pavlovian dog like training by the monstrous fascist behaviorists like B.F. Skinner for the ultimate therapeutic state.

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  3. Modern Psychiatry takes the view that man is nothing more than chemicals and Neurons,that man has no spirit or soul,that belief in God is bad genetics,that the brain is a binary computer…

    Modern Psychiatry claims to be experts in something they do not think exists (“psychiatrist” lit. Greek: “doctor of the soul”)

    Biopsychiatry views man as a “meat puppet” and a “chemical robot” merely acting out “irresistible impulses” predetermined by DNA and a collection of soups and sparks inside his brain.

    It’s almost like the DSM billing bible has become the official state religion, it’s in schools and workplaces , the courts and all over the place.

    I will go with this new politically correct spirituality vs religion thing if it helps.

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  4. Spirituality, as I understand it, is heart consciousness. It’s a very subjective and personal matter of the heart, which, if practiced and embodied, ultimately creates a felt sense of emotional freedom, inner peace, inner guidance, safety, clarity, and passion–aka, integral healing.

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