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Can suicide be prevented by religious participation?


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With such high numbers globally – over 800,000 people each year – suicide is one of the 20 leading causes of death worldwide.

As such it becomes imperative to find preventative measures to reduce this alarming rate of suicide.

In the most recent study to understand suicide prevention, new research from Michigan State University linked religious participation to lower suicide rates in many parts of the world.

Although sociological studies have generally accepted religious involvement in suicide protection, this is the first study to examine the association between religion and suicide outside Western industrialised countries.

This regional variation is the result of differences in both the degree of integration and regulation of religious communities and suicide underreporting.

The study analysed data from the World Health Organization Mortality Database and the World Values Survey (1981–2007) across 42 countries in seven geographical-cultural regions to understand if religious participation is more protective against suicide in some regions and why.

Religious participation accounts for a percentage of people attending religious services at least once a month.

The study found that religious participation is protective in Latin America, Eastern Europe, northern Europe and English-speaking countries which also share cultural values – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

However, they also found that religious participation may aggravate the risk of suicide in East Asia, Western Europe and southern Europe.

This regional variation is the result of differences in both the degree of integration and regulation of religious communities and suicide underreporting.

Overall the findings support the classical view which associates religious participation with suicide prevention; however researchers suggest that suicide prevention should consider local norms, values and religious circumstances when evaluating and developing preventative measures.

Source: Journal of Health and Social Behavior



 

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!