The British Journal of Psychiatry
Prospective prediction of suicide in a nationally representative sample: religious service attendance as a protective factor
Evan M. Kleiman, Richard T. Liu
  • Declaration of interest

    None.

Abstract

Background

Previous research into religious service attendance as a protective factor against suicide has been conducted only retrospectively, with psychological autopsy studies using proxy informants of completed suicide, rather than prospectively, with completed suicide as a dependent variable.

Aims

To determine whether individuals who frequently attended religious services were less likely to die by suicide than those who did not attend so frequently.

Method

We analysed data from a nationally representative sample (n = 20 014), collected in the USA between 1988 and 1994, and follow-up mortality data from baseline to the end of 2006.

Results

Cox proportional hazard regression analysis indicated that those who frequently attended religious services were less likely to die by suicide than those who did not attend, after accounting for the effects of other relevant risk factors.

Conclusions

Frequent religious service attendance is a long-term protective factor against suicide.

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