Loewenthal, K.M., MacLeod, A.K., Cook, S., Lee, M. and Goldblatt, V. (2003)
The suicide beliefs of Jews and Protestants in the UK: How do they differ?. Israeli Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 40 (3).
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It has been suggested that Protestant culture has become more tolerant towards suicide in the previous century, while Jewish culture has traditionally not condoned suicide. There have been reports that suicide rates are somewhat lower among Jews than among people of Protestant background. We asked whether there were differences between Jews’ and Protestants’ beliefs about suicide that might relate to these suggestions and reports. Beliefs about suicide were assessed from the Reasons For Living Inventory (RFL), and with questions about the acceptability of suicide in some circumstances. Self-reported suicide ideation and attempts were also assessed. Some religious-cultural differences were found in beliefs about suicide, but not with regard to ideation and behaviour. We discussed the relations between differences in belief, and reported differences in suicide prevalence, and suggested that most of the belief differences were consistent with reported patterns of prevalence. Notably, Jews believed more strongly than Protestants that moral-religious objections to suicide were reasons for living, and that suicide was less acceptable in certain circumstances.
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