Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

Spirituality and health: an initial proposal to incorporate spiritual health in health impact assessment

Resource/Evaluation type




This paper explores the spiritual dimensions of health. It suggests that the difficulties to include spirituality as a component in health impact assessment are due to conflicts between two underlying sets of assumptions. Mainstream scientific thought is dominated by a reductionist and materialist worldview, whereby a complex whole (be it an ecological system or a living organism) is viewed as reducible and can be explained by objectively examining and measuring its components.
Spirituality belongs to a differing school of thought with entirely different assumptions: it is an emergent property of a complex living system and exists only when such a system is examined in a holistic manner. This publication offers initial insights towards a cross-paradigm dialogue, in an attempt to incorporate a spiritual dimension into the process of health impact assessment.

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Owner contact details

Komatra Chuengsatiansup
Health Systems Research Institute
Department of Mental Health
Tiwanon Road