An exploration of cultural beliefs of witchcraft and spirituality in understanding dementia

Increasing our understanding of the spiritual and cultural beliefs around dementia to develop a nursing curriculum that enables students to care for dementia sufferers within the ecosystem of these beliefs.

Dementia and spirituality large


  • Professor Joanne Brooke
  • Associate Professor Omo Ojo, University of Greenwich
  • Marlon Stiell, University of Greenwich

Research background

The rationale of this study is to support an understanding of the cultural beliefs of student nurses regarding dementia, and how the nursing curriculum can enable these students to develop a scientific and person-centred approach to support and care for people living with dementia. There remains the need to be able to explore student nurse’s cultural beliefs of dementia openly in a supportive and safe environment of the classroom setting, with a competent facilitator.

Research aims

The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of cultural beliefs on concepts of dementia, including witchcraft and spirituality, of student nurses studying at two Higher Education Institutes in England.

The objectives of this study are to:

  • Gain an understanding of student nurse’s cultural beliefs of dementia as witchcraft and associated spirituality during the first and third year of their bachelor studies
  • Gain an understanding of any changes in student nurse’s cultural beliefs of dementia during their bachelor studies, and what influences these changes
  • Gain an understanding of how the bachelor curriculum can be developed to support and address the cultural beliefs around dementia.

Research methods

Focus groups with student nurses in their first year, and third-year studying Mental Health at either Birmingham City University or the University of Greenwich.

Status: Ongoing 


Brooke, J.M., Ojo, O. (2019). Contemporary views on dementia as witchcraft in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic literature review. Journal of Clinical Nursing 29(1-2): 20-30.