Approaching the religious patient in forensic psychiatry, with special focus on ethnic minority patients

Ricko Damberg Nissen*, Frederik Gildberg, Niels Christian Hvidt

*Corresponding author for this work

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Ethnic minority patients are overrepresented in Danish forensic psychiatry and knowledge is needed on how these patients are approached in relation to religious and cultural issues. The aim of this study was to investigate how psychiatrists in Danish forensic psychiatry approach religious ethnic minority patients. The study revealed positive approach towards religious ethnic minority patients. However, unless religion features as part of the illness, the tendency is to not incorporate the patients’ religiosity in treatment. The study finds that the hospital chaplain is regarded by the psychiatrists as an important part of the ward and expressed the desire for a more formal cooperation with religious specialists to be developed. Finally, the study finds that religious practices such as Ramadan, common prayer, and Islamic edicts on food and unlawful touch are areas where more knowledge is needed, especially in relation to anxiety, potential stress, and conflict situations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMental Health, Religion & Culture
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)694-710
Publication statusPublished - 24. Sep 2019


  • Forensic psychiatry
  • culture
  • ethnic minority patients
  • religion


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