Peter Kaiser, Marie T. Benner, Kai Pohlmann
June 16, 2020
Religion has always had an influence on the causal attribution of people, i.e. how is your own destiny, happiness and misfortune interpreted? Since religious belief is not static, it is strongly influenced by the experiences that sufferers have gained in their past. It therefore plays an important role in dealing with trauma and stress in humanitarian crises – especially in vulnerable populations (such as refugees) and can be a source of power in difficult times. There are systematic studies on psychological implications of trauma in the context of war and forced migration on affected populations, especially regarding the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, but the effects of religious beliefs are not well understood yet. This study examines the role of religion in the daily lives of Karen refugees in long-term refugee settings along the Thai-Myanmar border and the possible influence that religion can have on dealing with crisis situations and one's own destiny. Resilience is a factor that is easily overlooked by mental health services, especially in situations where people are dependent on third party help. Psychosocial health care should take into account the role of religious beliefs in terms of expectations and causal attribution.