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Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Mar 1;155(5):413-9.

Suicide rates and religious commitment in young adult males in Utah.

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Department of Statistics, 230 TMCB, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA.


Previous studies have used population data to demonstrate an inverse association between suicide rates and religious commitment. This report examines Utah suicide rates for young men aged 15-34 years, stratified by their membership in and commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the predominant religion in Utah. All state death records for males from 1991 to 1995 were obtained and linked to LDS church deceased membership records to obtain a measure of religious commitment that is not self-reported. Religious commitment for LDS church members was determined by age-appropriate priesthood office. Of the 27,738 male deaths reported, 15,555 (56%) linked to an LDS church record using a probabilistic linking program. Using active (high religious commitment) LDS as the reference group, the less-active (low religious commitment) LDS group had relative risks of suicide ranging from 3.28 (ages 15-19 years) to 7.64 (ages 25-29 years); nonmembers of the LDS church had relative risks ranging from 3.43 (ages 15-19 years) to 6.27 (ages 20-24 years). Although the mechanism of the association is unclear, higher levels of religiosity appear to be inversely associated with suicide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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