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Study: Women Attending Religious Services Less Likely to Commit Suicide

Jun 30, 2016 11:43 PM EDT
Women in Church
A new study revealed that women who attend religious services once or more every week have five time lower risk of subsequent suicide.
(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A new study linked religious services and suicide, suggesting that women who attend religious services had a lower risk of suicide compared to women who are never attended religious services.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, revealed that protestant women who attends religious services at least once a week are less likely to commit suicide that those who never attended services. On the other hand, devout catholic women who attend religious services more than once a week were seven times less likely to take their life with their own hands than their protestant counterparts.

For the study, researchers analyzed the data of 89,708 women from 1996 through June 2010 using the Nurses' Health Study. Each participant was asked how frequent do they attend in religious services. Based on the 1996 baseline, 17,028 reported that they have attended religious services more than once a week, 36,488 attended once per week, 14,548 attended less than once per week and 21,644 never attended any religious service.

Over the course of the 15-year study, researchers recorded 36 suicides from the group.

Researchers noted that women who attend religious services once or more every week have five times lesser of committing suicide. However, researchers warned that there is concrete evidence proving causal relation between religious attendance and suicide.

"Our results do not imply that health care providers should prescribe attendance at religious services. However, for patients who are already religious, service attendance might be encouraged as a form of meaningful social participation. Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that psychiatrists and clinicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate," researchers explained in a statement.

In a report from Los Angeles Times, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, associate professor of psychiatry at UC Irvine, commented that people often finds a sense of hope in their religious practices and convictions even in times of adversity, helping them find sense of meaning and purpose even in suffering.

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