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14-06-2017 | Uitgave 11/2017

Quality of Life Research 11/2017

Health-related quality of life of a very special population: monks of Holy Mountain Athos, Greece

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 11/2017
K. Merakou, E. Kyklou, E. Antoniadou, D. Theodoridis, E. Doufexis, A. Barbouni



The investigation of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) of Orthodox Christian monks who live at the Holy Mount Athos in Greece, and its correlation with demographic characteristics and Sense of Coherence (SOC-13).


A cross-sectional study was designed. The seven monasteries and five scetes with the largest number of monk population were invited to participate. Two monasteries and 1 scete gave their permission for the study. The final monks sample was formed by 166 monks from 215 who participated to the study. HRQOL was assessed using the SF-12 and Sense of Coherence the SOC-13 scales that were completed by monks from May to August 2012. Μultiple linear regression analyses were conducted to explore the association of the HRQOL subscales with the demographics and SOC-13.


The mean age was 45.5 ± 13.0 years; 83.7% lived in communal monasteries, and the mean number of years in monasticism was 18.4 ± 12.1. The mean value of their Physical Component Summary (PCS) score was 47.3 ± 5.3, which is lower than in the general Greek men population, while their Mental Component Summary (MCS) score was 56.4 ± 5.8, which is higher than in the general Greek men population. The mean value of SOC-13 was 65.7 ± 6.5. Positive association for PCS appeared for place of living (β = 5.43, SE = 1.27, p < 0.001) and negative association for age (β = −0.16, SE = 0.03, p < 0.001) while for MCS for number of years in monasticism (β = 0.07, SE = 0.06, p = 0.023) and sense of coherence (β = 0.47, SE = 0.06, p < 0.001).


The results indicated that monks had better mental health but worse physical health compared to the general Greek male population. More studies are required to validate the above findings.

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