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J Affect Disord. 2012 Jun;139(1):40-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2011.12.027. Epub 2012 Apr 6.

A longitudinal evaluation of religiosity and psychosocial determinants of suicidal behaviors among a population-based sample in the United States.

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School of Health Sciences, Community Health Division, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859, USA.



Relationships among religiosity and other psychosocial factors in determining suicidal behaviors in adolescence and in emerging adulthood have been inconclusive. We sought to investigate prospective relationships among religiosity, psychosocial factors and suicidal behaviors using a nationally representative sample of adolescents emerging into adulthood.


Analysis was based on 9412 respondents from four waves of National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. A Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) procedure was used to fit a series of models on the response variable (suicidal behaviors) and a set of psychosocial and religiosity predictors taking into account the correlated structure of the datasets.


Analyses showed that adolescent suicidality and religious activity participation showed significant declines over time. Using multinomial logistic regression we found that females showed statistically significant risks of suicidal behaviors, but this effect declined in adulthood. In adjusted models, baseline attendance of a church weekly was associated with 42% reduction (95% Confidence Interval: 0.35-0.98) of suicide ideation in Wave III. Across all waves, low support from fathers (compared with mothers) consistently explained variability in suicidal behaviors among genders emerging into adulthood.


Accurate measurement of religiosity is psychometrically challenging.


The findings of the study indicate that religious activity participation is associated with reduced suicidal behaviors among adolescents but this effect declines during emerging adulthood. Psychosocial supports particularly from fathers' have an enduring impact on reduced suicidal behaviors among adolescents and emerging adults. Prevention, identification and evaluation of disorders of suicidality need a careful assessment of underlying mental pain (psyache) to reduce the likelihood of aggravated suicide.

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