Suicidal risk, depression, and religiosity: A study of women in a general hospital in Santiago de Chile

Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile.
Asia-Pacific Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.63). 09/2013; 6(1). DOI: 10.1111/appy.12102
Source: PubMed


The purpose of the present study is to compare the role of spiritual and religious beliefs in the prevention of suicidal risk among depressive women with suicidal ideation or attempts, treated in the psychiatric unit of a general hospital in Santiago de Chile (Servicio de Psiquiatría del Hospital del Salvador) between 2010 and 2011.
The relationship among severity of depression, suicidal risk, and religiosity is explored in women treated in Servicio de Psiquiatría del Hospital del Salvador. The sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of believers (n = 121) and nonbelievers (n = 22) were compared, and their global mental health was assessed, as well as their rating in scales for depression, anxiety, aggressivity, and impulsivity.
Most of the patients self-reported to belong to Catholic or other Christian churches. There were few statistically significant differences between them and nonbelievers, who were younger, had more years of education, were more frequently employed, and lived alone or with their parents. When comparing the least religious and the most religious quartiles, there were no differences in the type of affective disorder, attendance to temples, or self-appraisal of religiosity. Nonbelievers had more history of previous suicidal attempts and had more relatives committing suicide.
In a country where most of the population is believer, self-reported religiosity seems to have a nonsignificant association with suicidality and severity of depression. Our results could be biased given the small number of nonbelievers in the sample.

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Available from: María Sol Pastorino, Jul 08, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Suicide is a major public health concern and a leading cause of death around the world. How religion influences the risk of completed suicide in different settings across the world requires clarification in order to best inform suicide prevention strategies. A meta-analysis using search results from Pubmed and Web of Science databases was conducted following PRISMA protocol and using the keywords "religion" or "religious" or "religiosity" or "spiritual" or "spirituality" plus "suicide" or "suicidality" or "suicide attempt". Random and fixed effects models were used to generate pooled ORs and I2 values. Sub-analyses were conducted among the following categories: young age (<45yo), older age (≥45yo), western culture, eastern culture, and religious homogeneity. Nine studies that altogether evaluated 2339 suicide cases and 5252 comparison participants met all selection criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis suggested an overall protective effect of religiosity from completed suicide with a pooled OR of 0.38 (95% CI: 0.21-0.71) and I2 of 91%. Sub-analyses similarly revealed significant protective effects for studies performed in western cultures (OR = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.18-0.46), areas with religious homogeneity (OR = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.13-0.26), and among older populations (OR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.21-0.84). High heterogeneity of our meta-analysis was attributed to three studies in which the methods varied from the other six. Religion plays a protective role against suicide in a majority of settings where suicide research is conducted. However, this effect varies based on the cultural and religious context. Therefore, public health professionals need to strongly consider the current social and religious atmosphere of a given population when designing suicide prevention strategies.
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