'Is depression a sin or a disease?' A critique of moralising and medicalising models of mental illness

Journal of Religion and Disability (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Moralising accounts of depression include the idea that depression is a sin or the result of sin, and/or that it is the result of demonic possession which has occurred because of moral or spiritual failure. Increasingly some Christian communities, understandably concerned about the debilitating effects these views have on people with depression, have adopted secular folk psychiatry’s ‘medicalising’ campaign, emphasising that depression is an illness for which, like (so-called) physical illnesses, experients should not be held responsible. This paper argues that both moralising and medicalising models of depression are intellectually and practically (pastorally and therapeutically) problematic, gesturing towards more promising emphases.

Author's Profile

Anastasia Scrutton
University of Leeds

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