Researchers

IJCAM is a free open-source journal that encourages, supports, and reports on the work of researchers, mental health professionals, and social scientists who have studied the common psychological dynamics underlying different forms of coercion, abuse, and manipulation across diverse contexts. Author Guidelines.

Bullet Point Overview

  • A growing body of research aims to develop and/or apply instruments that measure the abusiveness of cultic and related environments. (See assessment section in research collection.)

  • Several research studies have looked at prevalence and suggest that approximately one percent of the population has had some kind of cult involvement.

  • Various surveys listed in the research collection provide suggestive data on factors such as age of joining, time in, psychological distress, etc.

  • Some research on harm focuses on children, people born or raised in groups (SGAs - second generation adults), women, polygamy.

  • There is little formal research on the effectiveness of treatment of former group members.

  • There is little research on the experiences and needs of families concerned about a loved one in a group.

  • Academic disputes between so-called "pro" and "anti" cultists have died down in recent years and there is increasing communication between sociologists and mental health professionals.

  • Some researchers and professionals have begun to apply brain research to cultic phenomena, though such work is provisional and largely theoretical.

  • A few researchers have examined identity issues and pseudopersonality.

  • Cultic studies concepts have been applied to areas other than religion, including the new age movement, business, political organizations, families, terrorist groups, sex trafficking, women, and other areas.

  • Some have looked into the role of hypnosis and dissociation.

  • Clinical experts have written about the psychology of cult leaders.

  • Though attention has waned there is some research on cultic dimensions of recovered memories.

  • Some research, especially in sociology, focuses on a specific group.

  • There are bodies of research on social influence and the psychology of religious conversion.

  • Most of the articles and book reviews listed on this page have been published in ICSA periodicals. Those deemed to be most useful to researchers are in bold, though this is, of course, a subjective choice.

Readings

Additional Resources

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Videos

For more videos see ICSA's YouTube channel.

ICSA members have access to additional videos from conferences and virtual events.

Overview of Cultic Studies Research. Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD

Brainwashing - Scientific Concept or Mere Label. Benjamin Zablock, PhD

Updating The Legal Concept of Undue Influence in the 21st Century. Alan Scheflin, JD, LLM

The Spectrum of Coercive Control. Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD

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