Religiosity, Spirituality and Happiness In Buddhist Thailand

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge A
Oral Presentation
Rossarin Soottipong GRAY , Mahidol University, Thailand
Nonglak NGOWIWATCHAI , National Statistical Office, Ministry of Information and Technology, Thailand
Thailand, a Buddhist country in Southeast Asia, has experienced deep social division and political conflict since 2006. The predominance of Theravada Buddhism is considered an important aspect of the Thai setting since it influences Thai people’s attitudes, thoughts, and ways of life. The purposes of this study are to explore whether the level of happiness is changed over the period and whether religiosity and spirituality has a significant relationship with happiness among Thai people. The pooled data of population age 15 years and over from the Social and Cultural Situation Surveys in 2008 and 2011 were utilized. They are the national representative sample surveys.The sample consisted of 25,950 population in 2008 and 23,670 population in 2011. Based on binary logistic regressions, the results reveal that Thai people were happier.  Religiosity and spirituality were associated with happiness statistically significantly after controlling for study year, demographic factors (age, sex and marital status) and socioeconomic factors (education and occupation). Those who always undertook all five precepts and meditated in Buddhist holy days and other important days were more likely to be happier. Those who expressed their gratitude, gave an opportunity to others before self and donated regularly were more likely to be happier than those who rarely or never did them. The findings suggest that religiosity and spirituality played a vital role in increasing happiness among Thai people during the difficult time.