Healing Strategies among Thai Buddhist Widows after Sudden of Loss of Spouse in Terrorist Attacks


  • Sujira WICHAIDIT Faculty of Nursing, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla 90110
  • Praneed SONGWATHANA Faculty of Nursing, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla 90110
  • Karnsunaphat BALTHIP Faculty of Nursing, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla 90110
  • Martin WOODS Graduated School of Nursing, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington




Buddhism, suffering, healing strategies, widow, psychological trauma


Background: Both physical and psychological suffering among women after the loss of their husband as a result of traumatic events has been evident. However, little is known about the strategies used by Thai widows who are able to heal and return to normal living in areas of unrest.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to describe the healing strategies used by Thai Buddhist widows to heal their suffering from the sudden loss of their spouse in terrorist attacks.

Methodology: This is a primary analysis of data generated from a qualitative study of Thai Buddhist widows who lost their spouse because of terrorist attacks in the southernmost provinces of Thailand. Five Buddhist widows were purposively selected to participate in the study, using in-depth interviews and observation for data collection. Content analysis was employed as part of the data analysis to identify and describe the strategies used by the selected participants.

Results: The participants were aged between 37 and 64 years old and had experienced the loss of a spouse within the previous 2 to 10 years. They had been successful in healing their suffering. Several strategies had been used, with initial support and assistance from families and close friends. Firstly, as per the Buddhist belief system, ‘merit making’, such as praying, practicing meditation, or offering money and/or food to monks, was often performed by the women. These practices helped them to ease their anxiety about their husbands’ afterlife happiness and whether or not they were living in a good place. Secondly, venting their feelings and emotions with family and close friends, including talking to their husband’s picture, provided some suffering relief. Lastly, a deep understanding of Dukkha (suffering) and the natural law of life in Buddhism helped widows to realize the right ways to create a positive mindset and new future life.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The strategies used to heal themselves from suffering by Thai Buddhist widows could be of benefit for nurses, to enable them to develop interventions that not only relieve human suffering from the unexpected loss of loved ones, but also promote mental health through healing and spiritual growth in their own lives.


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How to Cite

WICHAIDIT, S., SONGWATHANA, P., BALTHIP, K., & WOODS, M. (2018). Healing Strategies among Thai Buddhist Widows after Sudden of Loss of Spouse in Terrorist Attacks. Walailak Journal of Science and Technology (WJST), 16(4), 243–254. https://doi.org/10.48048/wjst.2019.4051



Research Article