Suicide and Religion: New Evidence on the Differences Between Protestantism and Catholicism
In this study of the persistent social phenomenon of suicide, we find that even though theological and social differences between Catholicism and Protestantism have decreased, Catholics are still less likely than Protestants to commit or accept suicide. This difference remains even after we control for such confounding factors as social and religious networks. Although religious networks do mitigate suicides among Protestants, the influence of church attendance is more dominant among Catholics. The methodological strength of our paper is that it uses two data sets: a 20-year panel for Switzerland and a cross-sectional analysis of alternative religious concepts like religious commitment and religiosity in 414 European regions. We find that these alternative concepts strongly reduce acceptance of suicide.
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