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Advances in Psychological Science    2018, Vol. 26 Issue (12) : 2091-2100     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.02091
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Physical and mental harm caused by participation in cults from a psychological perspective
Dingcheng REN1,Chenhong HE1,2,Tianjia CHEN1()
1. Center for Cult Studies, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
2. School of Humanities, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Abstract  

Scientific research on the phenomena of the physical and mental injury caused by participation in cults focuses on three aspects: definition, measurement and mechanism. The purpose of this paper is to review the issues, analyses, and findings on these three topics, and to clarify the field’s controversies and achievements. Our literature survey indicates that a) the terminology regarding the harm caused by cults has changed from “brainwashing” to “psychological abuse”; b) the focus of observation has changed from individual behavior to group experiences; c) the measurement of harm has shifted from traditional psychometric tools to group psychological abuse scales; and d) for psychological mechanisms, an interactive pathology model based on cult milieu factors and personal vulnerability has been established, and epigenetics and interpersonal neurobiology are also primarily used in the study of physiological mechanisms. However, a new research paradigm on cult harm has not yet been formed.

Keywords cult      physical and mental injury      brainwashing      the group psychological abuse scale      group dependence disorder     
ZTFLH:  B849:C91  
Corresponding Authors: Tianjia CHEN     E-mail: chentianjia@ucas.ac.cn
Issue Date: 30 October 2018
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Dingcheng REN
Chenhong HE
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Dingcheng REN,Chenhong HE,Tianjia CHEN. Physical and mental harm caused by participation in cults from a psychological perspective[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2018, 26(12): 2091-2100.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.02091     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/Y2018/V26/I12/2091
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