Dimensions of Religion Associated with Suicide Attempt and Ideation: A 15-Month Prospective Study in a Dutch Psychiatric Population

Bart van den Brink, Matthias Jongkind, Ralph C.A. Rippe, Nathan van der Velde, Arjan W. Braam, Hanneke Schaap-Jonker

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Dimensions of religion contribute in different ways to the in general protective effect of religiosity and spirituality (R/S) against suicidality. Few studies have included a substantial number of dimensions, and even fewer a follow-up, to clarify the stability and contribution of R/S over the course of psychopathology. In this follow-up study among 155 religiously affiliated in- and outpatients with major depression, religious service attendance, frequency of prayer, type of God representation, moral objections to suicide, and social support were re-assessed in 59 subjects. Diverse statistical analyses show a partial change in R/S parameters. Supportive R/S is persistently associated with lower suicidality. R/S at T0 or change in R/S is not associated with additional changes in suicidality over time. The results suggest that the most important change in suicidality can be understood as an effect of a decline in depressive symptomatology, not of changes in R/S. Despite the limited follow-up and sample size, these results emphasize the importance of longitudinal and dynamic evaluation of especially affective and supportive aspects of R/S in suicidal persons.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • God representation
  • depression
  • moral objections to suicide
  • prayer
  • religion
  • religious service attendance
  • suicidal ideation

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