Suicide and religion: New evidence on the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Suicide has remained a persistent social phenomenon and now accounts for more deaths than motor vehicle accidents. There has been much debate, however, over which religious constructs might best explain the variation in suicide rates. Our empirical analysis reveals that even though theological and social differences between Catholicism and Protestantism have decreased, Catholics are still […]

Anomie my Enemy


A Message on Suicide Prevention

With this message, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America encourages members, congregations, & affiliated institutions to learn more about suicide & its prevention in their communities, to ask what they can do, & to work with others to prevent suicide. Actions & resources that may contribute to these efforts are identified.


Catholic Religion and Suicide: the Mediating Effect of Divorce

The effects of religion & divorce on suicide rates are examined for metropolitan areas in 1980. The authors find that the role of Catholic church membership has both direct & indirect effects on suicide rates; the indirect effects are mediated through the divorce rate. In contrast, argue the authors, Protestant church membership is not related […]

Protestantism: its Vision of Life and Death El Protestantismo: su vision de vida y muerte

This article is an English translation. The original Spanish text is also available.

A Protestant Perspective on Suicide (IN: Clergy Response to Suicidal Persons and Their Family Members, edited by D C Clark)

This chapter presents 5 theological propositions about life, death & faith that set the agenda for a theological discussion regarding suicide. Pastoral response to the suicidal is to promote life carefully & realistically without denying the terror or despair that precipitated the suicidal thoughts. Pastoral effectiveness hinges in part on an ability to be empathetic. […]

Cultural Aspects About Suicide in Finland

The author links the high rate of male suicide in Finland (75% of all suicides are male) to the national characteristics of Finns, who are industrious, conscientious, fair, have difficulty in expressing their emotions & in venting aggressions in a natural way, & tend to regard positive & warm feelings in men as a sign […]

Durkheim on Religion and Suicide–a Demographic Critique

Using Durkheim’s methods, but with other data, it is considered whether there is any empirical basis for his theory of differing suicide rates between Catholics & Protestants. The author’s data suggests that the apparent differential between them can be attributed to a greater tendency within Catholic populations to register suicide as something else. This raises […]

Religion and Differences in Morbidity and Mortality

The authors claim that religion impacts on health & mortality in a manner that is generally positive; i.e., by influencing behavior that produces better health; by producing a supportive social network; & by virtue of this support, functions to reduce stressful life events. Research studies predicting suicide rates by virtue of membership in a specific […]

The Effect of Religious Commitment on Suicide: A Cross-National Analysis

Research on the relationship of religion & suicide has relied almost exclusively on the concept of religious integration as a causable 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, […]

Beyond Durkheim: Religion and Suicide

The authors dispute Durkheim’s claim that religious effects on suicide are no more than a reflection of social integration using the SMSA as the unit of analysis & data from a 1971 Census of Religious Bodies plus Jewish synagogue membership & membership in black denominations, they foud a stromg religious effect on suicide independent of […]

“Concerning Suicide: Anglican Committee Report”

This clipping describes an Anglican report “Ought Suicide to be a Crime?”(1958). The 56 page pamphlet was prepared by a lawyer, a psychiatrist, a philosopher & a theologian. It examines the subject from historical, legal, medical, & moral angles coming to the conclusion that considerable more charity is needed. The committee recommended the abolishment of […]

Sociology’s “One Law”

There has never been an adequate empirical test of Durkheim’s proposition that Catholics have lower suicide rates than Protestants. Thus the empirical foundation for one important application of Durkheim’s assertion that egoism & suicide vary proportionately remains uncertain. Results of a cross-national, longitudinal data study of twelve nations largely refute this proposition. Application of his […]

Suicide, Homicide, and Religion: Durkheim Reassessed

Data on church membership, suicide, & homicide from larger American cities for the early years of the twentieth century are used to test Durkheim’s theories of religion & social integration. Contrary to his prediction (& to nineteenth-century European data) no Protestant-Catholic differences were discovered on either suicide or homicide. The data reveal a very potent […]

Suicide and Religion: A Comparative Analysis

This study offers no support for the thesis that suicide rates are inversely related to the proportion of catholics in society. Durkheim’s theory of religion & suicide is no longer tenable because of a convergence between catholicism & protestantism levels of participation. Durkheim’s theory of marital intergration & suicide exept for societies with a very […]

Suicide and Religion: An Investigation of Suicide in Los Angeles County, 1974-1978 (Micro HV 6545 L485 1979)

Study to determine if religious affiliation would influence the number of suicides by analysing 1,300 suicide deaths as reported in the Los Angeles County for the years 1974-78. (KB)

Jewish Attitude Toward Euthanasia

This article, by citing several examples, describes some legal attitudes toward euthanasia in various countries & presents in detail the Jewish attitude. The classification of euthanasia speaks of eugenic, active medical & passive medical euthanasia, also of the new term-antidysthanasia. The pros & cons, & the Catholic & Protestant approaches to the problem could not […]

Suicide: Five Thousand a Year

Of the 5.000 who attempted suicide who become know to the police each year in England about a tenth are prosecuted. The church of England report, recommends abolishing the felony of suicide, & that attempted suicide should cease to be a crime. It rejects the notion that suicide is a purely private act & condemn […]

Suicide and Suicidal Attempts in Children and Adolescents


Attempted Suicide and Religion

A comparison of attempted suicide among Protestant and Catholic subjects revealed only eight significant differences out of fifty-five possible differences. Thus, on the whole, the groups proved to be quite similar. The major differences were that among Protestant subjects, suicide attempters were more often female & black, were in poorer physical health, & were less […]