Moral or Religious Objections to Suicide May Protect Against Suicidal Behavior in Bipolar Disorder
J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(10):1390-1396
© Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Purchase This PDF for $40.00
If you are not a paid subscriber, you may purchase the PDF.
(You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Receive immediate full-text access to JCP. You can subscribe to JCP online-only ($86) or print + online ($156 individual).
With your subscription, receive a free PDF collection of the NCDEU Festschrift articles. Hurry! This offer ends December 31, 2011.
If you are a paid subscriber to JCP and do not yet have a username and password, activate your subscription now.
As a paid subscriber who has activated your subscription, you have access to the HTML and PDF versions of this item.
Click here to login.
Did you forget your password?
Still can't log in? Contact the Circulation Department at 1-800-489-1001 x4 or send email
Objective: Patients with bipolar disorder are prone to suicidal behavior, yet possible protective mechanisms are rarely studied. We investigated a possible protective role for moral or religious objections to suicide against suicidal ideation and attempts in depressed bipolar patients.
Method: A retrospective case control study of 149 depressed bipolar patients (DSM-III-R criteria) in a tertiary care university research clinic was conducted. Patients who reported religious affiliation were compared with 51 patients without religious affiliation in terms of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics and history of suicidal behavior. The primary outcome measure was the moral or religious objections to suicide subscale of the Reasons for Living Inventory (RFLI).
Results: Religiously affiliated patients had more children and more family-oriented social networks than nonaffiliated patients. As for clinical variables, religiously affiliated patients had fewer past suicide attempts, had fewer suicides in first-degree relatives, and were older at the time of first suicide attempt than unaffiliated patients. Furthermore, patients with religious affiliation had comparatively higher scores on the moral or religious objections to suicide subscale of the RFLI, lower lifetime aggression, and less comorbid alcohol and substance abuse and childhood abuse experience. After controlling for confounders, higher aggression scores (P = .001) and lower score on the moral or religious objections to suicide subscale of the RFLI (P < .001) were significantly associated with suicidal behavior in depressed bipolar patients. Moral or religious objections to suicide mediated the effects of religious affiliation on suicidal behavior in this sample.
Conclusions: Higher score on the moral or religious objections to suicide subscale of the RFLI is associated with fewer suicidal acts in depressed bipolar patients. The strength of this association was comparable to that of aggression scores and suicidal behavior, and had an independent effect. A possible protective role of moral or religious objections to suicide deserves consideration in the assessment and treatment of suicidality in bipolar disorder.
J Clin Psychiatry
Submitted: December 14, 2009; accepted March 25, 2010.
Online ahead of print: February 8, 2011 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05910gre).
Corresponding author: Maria A. Oquendo, MD, Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive Unit No. 42, New York, NY 10032 (firstname.lastname@example.org).