Last August, an interesting article was published in JAMA Psychiatry that assessed the extent to which the religiosity of parents might affect suicidal tendencies or attempts in their children. Previous studies have shown an inverse association between offspring religiosity and suicidal ideation/attempts, but the association of parent religiosity on offspring suicidal ideation/attempts has not been examined.

Parental religious beliefs were associated with a lower risk for suicidal behavior in offspring, around 80%

The multigenerational longitudinal observational study included 112 parents and 214 offspring from a 3-generation family study conducted at the New York State Psychiatric Institute[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Since its inception, NYSPI has been at the forefront of psychiatry, making major contributions to the clinical care and understanding of the mentally ill. Among these accomplishments are: the discovery of the spirochaetal origin of general paresis, the earliest use of lithium in the United States, the first data describing a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia, leadership in the discovery of the genes causing Huntington’s and Wilson’s disease, and the development of DSM-III, DSM III-R and DSM-IV.[/quote]
and Colombia University. The authors assessed the possible high and low risk for major depressive disorder and also the association between suicidal behaviors (ideation/attempts) and parent and offspring religiosity.

Of the 214 offspring, 112 (52.3%) were girls. Offspring religious importance was associated with a lower risk for suicidal behavior in girls, but not in boys.

In addition, greater religiosity (see a large study about the studied effects of religiosity on health HERE) of parents was associated with a lower risk for suicidal behavior in offspring but, in contrast, it was not associated with parent religious attendance. These associations were independent of the existence of parental depression or marital status.

In conclusion, it may be said that parental religious beliefs were associated with a very lower risk for suicidal behavior in offspring, around 80%.


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