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Religion and mental health among older adults in Thailand: a national survey study

Suriya Klangrit (Institution for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand)
David D. Perrodin (Institution for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Yasotara Siripaprapakon (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya, Thailand)
Fahad Riaz Choudhry (Department of Psychology, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Science, International Islamic University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Thittayawadee Intaranggkul (Faculty of Nursing, Western University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Suthat Pratoomkaew (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya, Thailand)
Khunthong Khemsiri (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya, Thailand)
Kan Saengrung (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya, Thailand)
Watchara Vachirayano (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya, Thailand)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Article publication date: 16 August 2021

Issue publication date: 30 November 2021

126

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the association between mental health and religion among Thailand’s elderly population. The role of religion and culture remains limited despite the significant number of devout followers of religions in Thailand. Thai cultural and religious contexts have a dominant and persuasive influence on the lives of Thai older adults.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected in 2018 via face-to-face interaction using a structured questionnaire by the Thailand National Statistical Office. The sample consisted of 67,454 individuals, with 13,800 elderly Thai people aged 60 years or older selected for the study.

Findings

The results showed logistic regression with the association between religious activities and mental health in the understudied context of Buddhist elderly in Thailand. The variables were significantly associated with mental health at a 95% confidence level.

Originality/value

The model revealed that particular demographic and socioeconomic factors (age, education and marital status) were related to mental health for older adults. Regression analysis also revealed Buddhist religious activities (giving food to monks, mediation, monkhood, New Year praying, learning Dhamma for solving life’s problems, belief in Buddhism and practicing Buddhist principles) were significantly associated with the mental health of the older adult population in Thailand.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Author contribution: The authors would like to acknowledge the National Statistical Office, Thailand, for giving permission to use the secondary data set from the Social and Cultural Situation and Mental Health Survey in 2018 for this research (Permission official letter No.DS0504/3002 on November 11, 2019).Declaration of conflicting interests: The authors declare they have no potential conflicts of interest.Funding: The authors received no financial support for research/authorship or publication.

Citation

Klangrit, S., Perrodin, D.D., Siripaprapakon, Y., Choudhry, F.R., Intaranggkul, T., Pratoomkaew, S., Khemsiri, K., Saengrung, K. and Vachirayano, W. (2021), "Religion and mental health among older adults in Thailand: a national survey study", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 380-391. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-06-2020-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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