What is it about?

There are two conflicting notions about mystical experience (ME) in scientific literature. Some researchers view ME as a sign of mental illness, whereas others view it as a part of one’s psychospiritual growth and maturity, as well as an important turning point in life that can positively affect one’s value system and influence changes in personality, behavior, emotions, and outlook on life. Conflicting notions about the nature of ME create confusion not only in society but also among professionals who encounter patients who reflect on ME. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between ME and spiritual intelligence as a concept related to mental health, as well as to examine the relationship between ME and schizotypal personality traits and between ME and psychotic symptoms as pathological concepts in psychology. This study explores several hypotheses about the ME relationship with spiritual intelligence, schizotypal personality traits, and psychotic symptoms in one sample of 299 nonclinical Latvian women. The data were collected using four self-report questionnaires—the Mysticism Scale, the Spiritual Intelligence Survey, the Latvian Clinical Personality Inventory, and a socio- demographic data survey. The results suggest that ME has a stronger relationship with spiritual intelligence than schizotypal personality traits and psychotic symptoms. The results also indicate a relationship between spiritual intelligence and individual schizo- typal personality traits, largely explained by the moderation of ME. The results of the study help remove some ambiguity and gain a clearer picture of the nature of ME.

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Why is it important?

The results of this study support the view that mystical experience is a spiritual rather than a pathological phenomenon. The results clearly indicate that measuring the relationship between ME and variables from both opposing notions in one sample supports the theory that mystical experience is associated more with mental health and less with mental illness.


This study eliminates some uncertainty about the nature of mystical experience and may help avoid the misdiagnosis and mistreatment of individuals who are experiencing a spiritual crisis.

Daiga Katrīna Bitēna
Rigas Stradinas Universitate

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This page is a summary of: Mystical experience has a stronger relationship with spiritual intelligence than with schizotypal personality traits and psychotic symptoms., Psychology of Consciousness Theory Research and Practice, December 2021, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/cns0000312.
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