Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 396–416 | Cite as

Anger Regulation in Traumatized Cambodian Refugees: The Perspectives of Buddhist Monks

  • Angela NickersonEmail author
  • Devon E. Hinton


Recent research has highlighted the importance of traditional methods of healing in relation to the treatment of psychological distress in non-Western populations. This pilot study, conducted in Massachusetts, investigates what Buddhist Cambodian monks consider to be the causes, phenomenology and appropriate intervention strategies for anger among Cambodian refugees. Six monks were interviewed at four major temples in Massachusetts. Findings suggested that anger was common in the Cambodian community, was frequently triggered by marital discord, and commonly resulted in verbal and physical violence and, sometimes, suicidality. Buddhist-based anger management strategies identified as useful by the monks included education about Buddhist doctrines, mindfulness meditation practices, and the use of herbal medication and holy water. These anger regulation strategies and treatments are discussed in the context of Buddhist beliefs and Western psychological interventions.


Buddhism Anger regulation Mindfulness Traditional healing 



A. N. was funded by a 2009 American Australian Association Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship. D.E.H. was funded by NIH/NIMH Grant 5R01MH79032. We would like to thank Dara Chhean for his help with this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Arbour Counseling ServicesLowellUSA

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