Thursday, January 06, 2005

Suicide and IQ

There's a brief blurb at GNXP about the positive correlation between suicide and national IQ.


Blogger Peter Wizenberg said...

It would be interesting to know how suicide correlates with faith in a religion which holds that those who commit suicide will face Divine punishment. Ceteris paribus one would suppose, apriori, that it would be negatively correlated. I wonder if any empirical research has been done.

January 6, 2005 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Mike Gorman said...

If we do not confine our attention to "specialty groups", such as muslim jihadist adolescents, it appears here that professed religious afiliation correlates negatively with suicide attempts.

Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt
Kanita Dervic, M.D., Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Michael F. Grunebaum, M.D., Steve Ellis, Ph.D., Ainsley K. Burke, Ph.D., and J. John Mann, M.D.

OBJECTIVE: Few studies have investigated the association between religion and suicide either in terms of Durkheim’s social integration hypothesis or the hypothesis of the regulative benefits of religion. The relationship between religion and suicide attempts has received even less attention. METHOD: Depressed inpatients (N=371) who reported belonging to one specific religion or described themselves as having no religious affiliation were compared in terms of their demographic and clinical characteristics. RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found. CONCLUSIONS: Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients. After other factors were controlled, it was found that greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts. Further study about the influence of religious affiliation on aggressive behavior and how moral objections can reduce the probability of acting on suicidal thoughts may offer new therapeutic strategies in suicide prevention.

January 16, 2005 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Mike Gorman said...

Here, specific religious commitment does not appear to matter significantly, suggesting that expectation of associated punishment may not be matter as much as might be expected.
Religious affiliation may lower suicide risk

Last Updated: 2004-12-27 8:43:18 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Charnicia E. Huggins

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Depressed men and women who consider themselves affiliated with a religion are less likely to attempt suicide than their non-religious counterparts, according to new study findings.

"If someone acknowledges being religious, all else being equal, they are at lower risk to act on suicidal thoughts than someone who does not acknowledge religious affiliation," study co-author Dr. Maria A. Oquendo told Reuters Health.

Further, she added, "it does not appear to make a difference what religion they state their affiliation for."

Previous research has shown that religious countries tend to have lower rates of suicide than secular nations. Studies have also shown that a higher degree of religious commitment is associated with less suicidal behavior.

In the current study, Oquendo and her colleagues at Columbia University in New York City examined the influence of religious affiliation on suicide attempt in a study of 371 depressed inpatients at a psychiatric institute. About half of the study participants had attempted suicide at least once in their lifetime.

Overall, men and women who said they belonged to a religion had a history of less suicide attempts than those who reported no religious affiliation, Oquendo and her team report in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Specifically, 48 percent of patients affiliated with Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism or other religion reported having attempted suicide, compared with 66 percent of those with no religious affiliation.

Religious patients also reported experiencing less suicidal thoughts than did their non-religious peers, despite similar high scores on assessments of depression and hopelessness.

January 16, 2005 at 11:13 AM  

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