Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska

 

Date of this Version

2015

Citation

Journal of Muslim Mental Health, Volume 9, Issue 2, 2015. doi 10.3998/jmmh.10381607.0009.201

Comments

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

Substantial commentary has been written about the historical context of the Malay-Muslim minority in the deep south of Thailand. Much of the recent scholarship on the Malay-Muslim minority of Thailand has focused on the ongoing ethnic insurgency in southern Thailand, the region’s troubled history of annexation, and its relevance to Thailand’s political landscape. However, there is little empirical research on the Malay-Muslim population itself, although it is assumed that expressions of their religious identity are a fundamental aspect of collective identity formation. In an effort to fill this gap, this study explored perceptions of religiosity and risk behavior among Muslim adolescents affiliated with a private Islamic school in the province of Yala, Thailand. The study examined perceptions of this group’s religious behavior and relationships to perceived social problems of concern to the community, and found that increased religious adherence mediated engagement in risk behaviors. We also found that girls were perceived to be more likely to engage in religiously adherent behavior, and less likely to engage in socially problematic behavior, than boys. This study and its findings are relevant to deepening empirical knowledge about Malay-Muslim adolescents in southern Thailand. It may also have implications for community leaders and policy makers interested in improving wellbeing among Muslim adolescents in the area.