The geographic heterogeneity of suicide rates in India by religion, caste, tribe, and other backward classes
Arya, V. Page, A, Dandona, R., Vijayakumar, L., Mayer, P., & Armstrong, G.
Background: Caste, tribal, and religious associations, which are perhaps the most important aspects of personal and social lives in India, have been neglected in Indian suicide research. Aim: To investigate suicide rates in India by religion, caste, tribe, and other backward classes over the period 2014–2015. Method: This study acquired unpublished suicide data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2014 and 2015 including caste, tribal, and religious associations of suicide cases. National and state-specific suicide rates (2014–2015) were then calculated for Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and other religious groups and for scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST), and other backward classes (OBC). Results: The findings show higher suicide rates among Christian and other religious groups compared with Hindus and higher suicide rates among general populations compared with SC, ST, and OBC populations. However, the results varied among different regions highlighting the substantial geographical heterogeneity of suicide rates across India by caste and religion. Limitations: The suicide rates presented might be an underestimation of the true rates. Conclusion: Given the heterogeneity of minority/majority status by religion, caste, tribes, and OBC in different states, further investigation of the relationship between minority status and suicide is warranted.