A report produced 50 years ago by a psychiatrist at a West Australian mental health facility ("asylum"l reported that the mental illness rate among JWs was 3 times the norm of Society. Other similar studies at the time concluded the rate was much higher.
I wrote to the psychiatrist at the time, asking whether the WTS attracted people who were already susceptible to mental illness or if the situation was created after the person became a JW. He responded that they did not know.
Being myopically focused on the WTS at the time, but more importantly belonging to an alternative eschatological apocalyptic body at the time, I did not think more broadly.
I think that today I would like to know:
1. How does the mental illness rate among JWs compare with the rate among other eschatological apocalyptic groups?
2. Similarly, what are the comparable mental illness rates among other groups, e.g. Fundamentalists (Christian, Muslim, etc.); Pentecostals.
3. How do these compare with the mental rate among secular groupings?
I cannot say, but my gut feel is that the answer to my original question is:
1. Insecure people, (is "unbalanced" a valid expression?) are attracted to the atmosphere of the positive solution being offered. And the solution is imminent.
2. Once "inside" their inner doubts are added to because these do not align with the positive behaviour that is apparent in others.
3. The threatening messages of imminent doom, of a powerful demanding God only adds to their previous insecurity.
Does my hypothesis align with the large dropouts, especially from "born-in" children?