Religion Conversion is Changing Way of Life: Adaptation Process among Thai-Isan Women with Conversion from Buddhism to Islam

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Suangsuda Charoenwong Charoenwong
Siriporn Chirawatkul
Lenore Manderson

Abstract

Objective

: To explore the adaptation process among Thai-Isan women who had converted from Buddhism to Islam.

Methods :

Qualitative approach was conducted during September 2012 to August 2013. Twenty one Thai-Isan women, who converted from Buddhism to Islam and identified themselves as Muallaf, participated in this study. Data were collected via in-depth interviews, natural conversations, observations and field notes, and were analyzed using thematic analysis. Triangulation was used to ensure the quality of the research.

Results :

All 21 Mualluf faced stressful situations that were risk of emotional crisis but they did not have mental health problems. Converting from Buddhist to Muslim was regarded as changing way of life. An adaptation process of the muallaf was divided into 3 phases including Phase 1: considering religious conversion Phase 2: identity transition and Phase 3: maintaining a new identity. In addition it was found that social support helped the muallaf’s transition smoothly. Factors in the success of the adaptation were divided into 3 levels: 1) Individual-level : faith in God, extrovert, non-dependent and appropriate defense mechanisms. 2) Family-level : the family understanding and Muslim families welcome 3) Community-level : Isan-Society accepting and Muslim community supporting.

 

Conclusion :

Religion conversion a risk to provoke emotional crisis. To prevent mental health problems suitable adaptation process is needed. Nonetheless, the factor forcing the muallaf to adapt was the pressure of conversion on them. The muallaf need social support. Health provider can offer greater support throughout the conversion by enhancing cultural competency.

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How to Cite
Charoenwong, S. C., Chirawatkul, S., & Manderson, L. (2016). Religion Conversion is Changing Way of Life: Adaptation Process among Thai-Isan Women with Conversion from Buddhism to Islam. Journal of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand, 60(4), 317–330. Retrieved from https://he01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/JPAT/article/view/45626
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Original Articles

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