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Regular Church Attendance May Lower Suicide Risk

'Spirituality' has little effect, but active practice plays a role, study suggests

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- People who regularly attend religious services may be less likely to attempt suicide than others, a Canadian study suggests.

University of Manitoba researchers analyzed data from almost 37,000 people who took part in the Canadian Community Health Survey to study the relationship between spirituality, religious worship and suicidal behavior.

"The main finding of this study is that religious worship attendance is associated with a decreased risk of suicide attempts," study author Daniel Rasic said in a university news release. The researchers didn't examine why religious worship may reduce the risk of suicide attempts.

Rasic and colleagues noted a distinction between people who say they're spiritual and those who regularly attend worship services. People who said they're spiritual didn't have a lower risk of attempted suicide. This suggests that something about attending religious services plays a role in reducing suicide risk.

"Further study into the relationship between active spiritual practice and suicidal behavior is needed," Rasic said.

The study was published in the current issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders.

More information

Mental Health America has more about suicide.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Manitoba, news release, Jan. 14, 2009

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