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Quality of life among patients with common mental disorders attending monk healers and primary care clinics in Thailand

Supa Pengpid (ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand and Department of Research Administration and Development, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa)
Karl Peltzer (Department for Management of Science and Technology Development, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Faculty of Pharmacy, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 11 September 2020

Issue publication date: 21 July 2021




Common mental disorders are not only highly prevalent in primary health-care settings but also negatively affect patients’ quality of life (QoL). This study aims to assess the levels of QoL among patients with common mental disorders seeking care from a monk healer or primary care setting and to determine the comparative QoL of users in two different types of care settings in Thailand.


Consecutively attending clients or patients (N = 1251) of three faith healing or three health centres were assessed with measures of depression, anxiety and somatization disorder and QoL.


The overall QoL was 67.8 and among the four QoL domains, social QoL was the highest (72.3), followed by physical QoL (69.4), environmental QoL (64.8) and psychological QoL (64.6). In adjusted linear regression analyses, sociodemographic factors, such as higher educational level, being employed, having high debt and consulting a health centre, were associated with higher overall QoL. Compared to being a client with a monk healer, patients at a health centre had a higher overall QoL, environmental and psychological QoL. Having a general anxiety or major depressive disorder was negatively associated with overall QoL and all four QoL sub-domains, whereas somatization disorder was not associated with any QoL sub-domains.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to investigate QoL in common mental disorder attenders with a monk healer in comparison with primary care patients. Primary care patients with a common mental disorder had significantly higher overall QoL (p<0.01), higher psychological QoL (p<0.001) and higher environmental QoL (p<0.001) than clients with a common mental disorder attending monk healers. This study extends previous research showing a negative association between anxiety and depressive disorders and QoL calling for integration of QoL in the management of common mental disorders in both complementary and public primary care in Thailand.



The authors would like to acknowledge the partial funding received for this study from the Department of Higher Education, South Africa.


Pengpid, S. and Peltzer, K. (2021), "Quality of life among patients with common mental disorders attending monk healers and primary care clinics in Thailand", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 145-153.



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