Friday, March 2, 2018

An Investigation of Islamic Well-Being and Mental Health

An Investigation of Islamic Well-Being and Mental Health. Ali Eryilmaz, Naci Kula. Journal of Religion and Health,

Abstract: The overall aim of this study was to develop the Islamic Well-Being Scale and examine the relationship between mental health and Islamic well-being. In this study, four sub-studies were performed to create the one-factor Islamic Well-Being Scale, perform a confirmatory factor analysis and validate the Islamic Well-Being Scale, differentially predict ill-being and well-being outcomes using the Islamic Well-Being Scale, and compare individuals with different Islamic belief levels using the Islamic Well-Being Scale. In total, 170 adults, 209 adults, 216 theological faculty students and 152 undergraduate educational faculty students participated in each sub-study. Several scales related to well-being and ill-being were used in this study. The Islamic Well-Being Scale was found to be valid and reliable. Islamic well-being was related to certain indicators of well-being and ill-being.

Keywords: Islam Well-Being Ill-Being Scale

From the Islamic perspective, three important criteria of happiness are evident. First, all Muslims who claim to be Muslims must first believe in the basic principles of Islam (Eryılmaz 2015; Joshanloo 2013; Skinner 2010). Therefore, they must believe in Allah, the prophets, the angels, the Hereafter, fate and scripture (Qur’an, 4/136). In essence, the principles of faith in Islam enable individuals to feel self-confident because they believe in Allah’s existence and power and remember and trust Him. According to the Qur’an, ‘‘Hearts find peace only by commemoration of God’’ (Qur’an, 13/28). Second, Islam means surrendering to the will of God (Haque 2004; Husain 1998). In Islam, followers must obey God’s divine laws. These rules include evaluating Islamic rituals, ethics, individual and social problems and the solutions to these problems from the perspective of the creator. These divine laws explain how happiness can be reached on Earth and in the Hereafter (Nasr 2003). Indeed, the attainment of happiness on Earth and in the Hereafter by mankind is expressed in relation to the fulfillment of the divine laws as follows: ‘‘Whosoever doth the law of Allah, his bans, and his respect, his righteousness is on the right hand of this Lord’’ (Qur’an, 22/30). The term ‘‘Fad/Fardh’’ describes the rules that should be observed at least at a minimum level. Fulfilling these obligations is necessary for one to be happy on Earth and in the Hereafter (Sajedi 2008). According to the Qur’an, ‘‘Allah does not lose the reward of those who do good works’’ (Qur’an, 9/120–121). Third, individuals must be called to Allah’s will to be happy both on Earth and in the Hereafter (Haque 2004; Joshanloo 2013). Therefore, Muslims must avoid the following seven major sins: human killing (Qur’an, 2/85, 178; 4/29, 92–93), adultery (Qur’an, 17/32, 4/15, 25; 24/2–10; 25/68–69; 33/30/65/1), drinking (Qur’an, 2/219; 5/90–91), breaking bonds with relatives (Qur’an, 4/1; 13/21–25), gambling (Qur’an, 2/219; 5/90–91) and bearing false witness against another (Qur’an, 4/135; 5/8; 25/75). To engage in such behavior is to be a party to corruptions that harm the Islamic religion (Qur’an, 4/117; 7/152; 10/32; 57/27).


Religion and spirituality are related to individual happiness (Hills and Argyle 2001; Tellegen et al. 1999; Ellison 1991; Francis and Robbins 2000; Wills 2009). Many studies have investigated religion and well-being (Paloutzian and Park 2005; Pargament and Abu-Raiya 2007; Spilka et al. 2003). Many of these studies focused on Christian populations (Abu-Raiya and Pargament 2011; Hills and Argyle 2001) and Muslim populations (Abdel-Khalek and Lester 2007; Abdel-Khalek and Naceur 2007; Abdel-Khalek and Thorson 2006; Alavi 2007; Baroun 2006; Eryılmaz 2014, 2015). However, studies examining happiness among adherents of Islam are lacking. Most studies have explored individual happiness in terms of Western concepts of well-being. Moreover, in these studies, the definition of happiness is humanistic rather than religious. From a humanistic perspective, happiness is a matter of what happens between birth and death. From a religious perspective, happiness extends to include periods before and after birth and death. Islam and well-being have only been examined theoretically or in review studies (Husain 1998; Joshanloo 2013; Nasr 2003; Sajedi 2008; Skinner 2010). Most scale development studies are based on Islamic religiosity. Abu-Raiya and Pargament (2011) reviewed 14 scale development studies in their literature review. However, no scale that directly measured Islamic well-being was identified in these studies. Abu-Raiya and Pargament (2011) state that studies on Islamic well-being should be conducted separately from studies of wellbeing in other cultures and should not consider Muslim life, worldviews and communication styles. Moreover, there are very few empirical studies on Islamic well-being because valid and reliable measurement tools are limited, making this an emerging field. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the relationships between Islamic well-being and mental health.


According to the results of this study, there is a weak positive relationship between Islamic well-being and mental health. Many reasons explain this relationship, such as the view of Islam on life, humans and happiness. According to Islam, the mind, heart and soul are required to reach man’s ultimate reality, which reveals the ultimate knowledge and happiness that is pre-emptive of a healthy mind. Islamic scholars believe that virtues and a good character will emerge by declining nafs-i emmareyi (animal spirit) and nafs-i lavvamah (logic soul), which directs human behavior according to the thoughts of the body angels. Happiness is in the heart of man in Islam. Mental calmness, calmness, feelings of well-being and comfort are the indicators of happiness. Happiness is the result of proper behavior both internally and externally, and a strong belief is the main source of happiness. Allah stated that ‘‘Whoever acts properly as a believer, we will bestow a good life on him who cannot go astray or suffer from my advice. But whoever turns away from my advice lives a difficult life’’ (Quran 16: 97). Ghazali stated in his book, ‘‘The Alchemy of Happiness,’’ that happiness can only be found by turning to God. To understand life and obtain happiness, one must understand himself/herself as if he/she were God and the world and that he is a lifesaver. One can only obtain true peace and maintain long-term purity by submitting to the will of God and following his rules (Husain 1998, p. 282). To achieve happiness in this world and the world to come, Muslims must choose to experience happiness in the Hereafter. In Islamic philosophy, happiness and apocalyptic science are interrelated. According to Islam, adherent Muslims can live in this world and the other world with positive feelings, such as peace, satisfaction, happiness and gratitude (Joshanloo 2013). There are approaches that treat happiness as a departure from the id (Khademi 2009; Mattila 2011) and those that deny, ignore or kill the id. However, to be a human being is a part of the id personality, and the id only dies when the individual does. Another perspective in Islamic terms is not to kill the id but to fulfill its wishes and anticipations while meeting Islamic criteria. Therefore, satisfaction based on the rules of instinct will make people happy to a certain extent. The accuracy of this explanation is indicated by the results of this study.

Given these explanations, it is necessary to underline the important points of Islamic well-being. Islamic well-being recommends modest pleasure rather than unlimited pleasure. Happiness derived from personal growth and capacity building is more important in the Hereafter than in this life because of the limited scope for personal growth and capacity building in the secular world. Islam views well-being in terms of the afterlife and its possibilities because compared to eternity, life on earth is but a drop in the ocean.

Is bilingualism associated with enhanced executive functioning in adults? It seems not.

Lehtonen, M., Soveri, A., Laine, A., Järvenpää, J., de Bruin, A., & Antfolk, J. (2018). Is bilingualism associated with enhanced executive functioning in adults? A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin,

Abstract: Because of enduring experience of managing two languages, bilinguals have been argued to develop superior executive functioning compared with monolinguals. Despite extensive investigation, there is, however, no consensus regarding the existence of such a bilingual advantage. Here we synthesized comparisons of bilinguals’ and monolinguals’ performance in six executive domains using 891 effect sizes from 152 studies on adults. We also included unpublished data, and considered the potential influence of a number of study-, task-, and participant-related variables. Before correcting estimates for observed publication bias, our analyses revealed a very small bilingual advantage for inhibition, shifting, and working memory, but not for monitoring or attention. No evidence for a bilingual advantage remained after correcting for bias. For verbal fluency, our analyses indicated a small bilingual disadvantage, possibly reflecting less exposure for each individual language when using two languages in a balanced manner. Moreover, moderator analyses did not support theoretical presuppositions concerning the bilingual advantage. We conclude that the available evidence does not provide systematic support for the widely held notion that bilingualism is associated with benefits in cognitive control functions in adults.

Psychosocial factors affecting resilience in Nepalese individuals with earthquake-related spinal cord injury

Psychosocial factors affecting resilience in Nepalese individuals with earthquake-related spinal cord injury: a cross-sectional study. Muna Bhattarai, Khomapak Maneewat, Wipa Sae-Sia. BMC Psychiatry,


Background: One of many types of injuries following an earthquake is spinal cord injury (SCI) which is a life-long medically complex injury and high-cost health problem. Despite several negative consequences, some persons with SCI are resilient enough to achieve positive adjustment, greater acceptance, and better quality of life. Since resilience is influenced by several factors and can vary by context, it is beneficial to explore factors that affect the resilience of people who sustained spinal cord injury from the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study included 82 participants from the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center and communities in Nepal. Participants completed the Demographic and Injury-related Questionnaire, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Moorong Self-efficacy Scale, Intrinsic Spirituality Scale, and Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Pearson’s correlation and point biserial correlation analyses were performed to examine associations between resilience and independent variables. A hierarchical regression analysis was used to identify the influence of certain factors.

Results: Findings indicated significant associations between resilience and social support (r = 0.42, p < 0.001), self-efficacy (r = 0.53, p < 0.001), depressive mood (r = − 0.50, p < 0.001) and demographic variables which included sex (r = 0.47, p < 0.001), employment (r = 0.27, p = 0.016), and current living location (r = 0.24, p = 0.029). There was a non-significant association between resilience and spirituality (r = − 0.12, p > 0.05). In hierarchical regression analysis, an overall regression model explained 46% of the variance in resilience. Self-efficacy (β = 0.28, p = 0.007) and depressive mood (β = − 0.24, p = 0.016) significantly determined resilience after controlling the effect of demographic variables. Among the demographic factors, being male significantly explained the variance in resilience (β = 0.31, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Multiple psychosocial and demographic factors were associated with resilience in people who sustained an earthquake-related SCI. Mental health professionals should demonstrate concern and consider such factors in allocating care in this group. Development of intervention research concerning resilience is recommended to strengthen resilience in order to improve rehabilitation outcomes and enhance reintegration of individuals with SCI into their communities.

Keywords: Resilience Social support Self-efficacy Spirituality Depressive mood Earthquake Spinal cord injury Nepal

Voice pitch predicts electability, but does not signal leadership ability

Voice pitch predicts electability, but does not signal leadership ability. Casey A. Klofstad, Rindy C. Anderson. Evolution and Human Behavior,

Abstract: Voice pitch, the perceived “highness” or “lowness” of a voice, influences how humans perceive and treat each other in various ways. One example is the selection of leaders. A growing number of studies, both experimental and observational, show that individuals with lower-pitched voices are more likely to win elected office. This leads to the yet untested question of whether individuals with lower voices are actually better leaders. That is, is voice pitch a reliable signal of leadership ability? Here we address this question with an observational study of the vocal pitch and leadership ability of elected officials, and an experiment where subjects were asked to respond to persuasive political policy statements made by speakers with different pitched voices. Both studies lead to the same conclusion: voice pitch does not correlate with leadership ability.

Keywords: Voice pitch, Leadership, Vote choice, Persuasion, Perception