Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 118–129 | Cite as

Emotional Well-Being Following Religious Conversion Among Women in Northeast Thailand

  • Suangsuda CharoenwongEmail author
  • Siriporn Chirawatkul
  • Lenore Manderson
Original Paper


Religious conversion can have a profound impact on individual mental health and emotional well-being. These changes may need specific nursing care. In this article, we describe the lived experiences of 21 women who converted from Buddhism to Islam and who live in Isan, the northeast region of Thailand. The data derive from in-depth interviews, natural conversations, and observations. Thematic analysis revealed two dominant themes: women’s sense of happiness in their new faith, and their suffering following from and as a result of their conversion. To provide appropriate care to and prevent mental health problems among Isan women who convert from Buddhism to Islam, and other women in similar contexts, health providers need to enhance their understanding of conversion and to be aware of life experiences that impact on their emotional well-being.


Buddhism Conversion Emotional well-being Islam Thailand 



The authors would like to express sincere appreciation to all participants for sharing their experiences, and to thank the Office of the Higher Education Commission, Thailand, under the program Strategic Scholarships for Frontier Research Networks (specific for Southern region), for funding this study.

Author Contributions

SuC and SC designed the study. SuC, SC and LM collected data, performed analysis, and wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of NursingKhon Kaen UniversityMuang, Khon KaenThailand
  2. 2.Centre for Research and Training on Gender and Women’s HealthKhon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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