Is Religiousness a Protective Factor against Suicide? Evaluating Suicidality and Religiousness in Psychiatric Inpatient Population Utilizing Sheehan Suicide Tracking Scale (S-STS) and Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)
Author(s): Ahmad Hameed, John C Garman, Hassaan Gomaa, Amanda White, Alan J Gelenberg
Background: Suicide is a major public health concern. Studies have suggested that Religiousness can be protective of suicidality. We objectively wanted to explore this relationship.
Methods: Patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital were invited to participate in the study to compare the psychometric properties of Sheehan-Suicidality Tracking Scale (S-STS) and Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). 199 patients consented and completed the study including an investigator-designed Risk Assessment Measure (RAM) that included questions about belief in god, attendance of services, and moral objections to suicide. Statistical analysis was performed.
Results: Most patients reported that they believed in god (86.9%, n = 172) and believed that suicide is an immoral act (62.4%, n = 123). Fewer patients reported that they regularly attended religious services (38.7%, n = 77). On S STS, patients who believed in god did not score significantly lower on the suicidal ideation subscale (p = 0.21), but they did score significantly lower on the suicidal behavior subscale (p = 0.02) and trended to score significantly lower on the total scale (p = 0.06). On C SSRS, patients who believed in god and objected to suicide scored lower on suicide attempts (p <0.05), similarly patients who believed in god and attended services scored significantly lower on the suicidal ideation subscale (p < 0.04), the suicidal behavior subscale (p < 0.04), and the total scale (p <0.03).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that religiosity may be a protective factor for suicidality.