Research on the links between religious beliefs and medical decisions in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
This research project aims to explore the ways in which religious beliefs affect the medical-decision making of Sri Lankans in Jaffna. Due to the medically pluralistic environment of Jaffna, many citizens employ complex combinations of both biomedical and spiritual healing modalities. Many Sri Lankans have adopted informal guidelines according to their belief systems that dictate which medical healing modalities they seek when illness arises. In order to investigate the ways in which biomedical and spiritual thought intersect in Jaffna, this research will be conducted through ...view middle of the document...
In particular, some religious patients approach biomedical care with skepticism, ensuring that they seek biomedical care only in conjunction with a more spiritual form of healing. In some of these instances, trust is violated between patients and physicians due to both parties’ miscommunication and misunderstanding of beliefs about disease causation. Consequently, overall patient care is undermined.
General Aims/Long Term Objectives:
This research project aims to explore the ways in which religious beliefs affect the medical decision-making of people in Jaffna. The overarching inquiries of this research resemble questions posed in global health research projects in medically pluralistic environments: How does faith in spiritual healing affect patient-healer relationships in both the clinical and spiritual realms? How are patients’ explanatory models of diseases influenced by both the biomedical and spiritual systems? What are some commonalities among the two healing modalities that shed light on ways to collaborate between systems and improve patient care? Researching these questions will give insight into the ways that trusting relationships can be fostered and common understandings can be reached between patient and physician and between biomedical and traditional healthcare paradigms. This in turn will allow patients to receive the healing they ultimately seek and allow physicians to accomplish the goal of assisting their patients in achieving a state of overall wellness.
To conduct this research, I...