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Based on secondary data from the Thai National Statistical Office, the present study tested a model that links Buddhist practices to self-perceived health in a large sample of Thai people. We tested three hypotheses: (1) Buddhist values (e.g., gratitude, generosity and altruism) arise by how frequently people engage in institutionalized Buddhist practices (e.g., praying, meditation, offering food to the monks); (2) The observation of institutionalized Buddhist practices is linked to higher levels of happiness, improved family and community connections and lower levels of negative emotions, depending on to the extent to which individuals incorporate Buddhist values into their behavior; and (3) The path from Buddhism (practices and values) to self-perceived health is mediated by happiness, negative emotions, and family and community connections. The model had a very good fit with the data, corroborating all hypotheses. The strongest indirect path from Buddhist practices to health was mediated by happiness. The results indicate that religion benefits self-perceived health mediated by how much an individual engages in religious practices and the extent to which those practices nurture human virtues. By regulating negative emotions, promoting family and community connections, and strengthening positive feelings, religion has an indirect impact on health. The implications of these findings for public health and the limitations of the study are discussed.
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- The Role of Buddhist Practices in Happiness and Health in Thailand: A Structural Equation Model
Rossarin Soottipong Gray
- Springer Netherlands
- Journal of Happiness Studies
An Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being
Print ISSN: 1389-4978
Elektronische ISSN: 1573-7780
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