Leo Sher, M.D.
A research reports, “Religiousness as a predictor of suicide: An analysis of 162 European Regions” has been published in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior online ahead of print (1). The authors examined a relation between religiousness and suicide rates in 162 regions within 22 European nations (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom).
Data from two databases, EUROSTAT and the European Social Surveys (ESS Round 4), were used to perform the study. The main dependent variable was the suicide rate or the number of suicides in the region per 100,000 population of the region. To control for fluctuations, these rates were calculated as 3-year averages (2007–2009). Religiousness was the main independent variable. Religiousness was measured in terms of self-reported religiosity.
The authors of the study found that controlling for the other predictor variables, the greater the religiousness of a region, the lower its suicide rate. The authors suggest that religiousness reduces suicide risk because religiousness is associated with many areas of well-being, including social support, physical health, marital stability, low likelihoods of alcohol and drug abuse/dependence, and lower depression.
1.Stack S, Laubepin F. Religiousness as a predictor of suicide: An analysis of 162 European Regions. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2018 Jan 25. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12435. [Epub ahead of print]