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The Effect of Religious Commitment on Suicide: A Cross-National Analysis
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 24, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 362-374
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136402
Page Count: 13
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Research on the relationship of religion and suicide has relied almost exclusively on the concept of religious integration as a causal variable. The present paper proposes an alternative linkage, based on the concept of religious commitment. A theory is developed that argues that a high level of commitment to a few life-preserving religious beliefs, values, and practices will lower suicide levels. Control variables are taken from the industrialization and the neglected gender-equality perspectives on suicide. A multiple regression analysis of suicide rates from 25 nations indicates that religious commitment is negatively related to the total suicide rate. However, this relationship holds only for females, the group traditionally most committed to religion. Both the industrialization and gender-equality variables were more closely associated with the variance in age- and gender-specific suicide rates than was the religious variable.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior © 1983 American Sociological Association