Spirituality, Religion, and Suicidality Among Veterans: A Qualitative Study

Jaimie Lusk, Steven Dobscha, Marek Kopacz, Mary Frances Ritchie, Sarah Ono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This qualitative study explores the relationship between veterans’ spirituality/religion and suicide ideation and attempts. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 veterans who either endorsed chronic suicidal ideation or had made suicide attempt(s). Interviews explored the bi-directional relationship between spirituality/religion (e.g., beliefs, practices, and experiences), and suicide ideation and behaviors. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Veterans’ responses indicate that spirituality/religion can discourage or permit suicidal ideation, help in coping with ideation, and facilitate meaning making and coping in the presence of self-perceived suffering. Veterans who survived a suicide attempt explored the impact of their spirituality/religion on their recovery. Findings highlight a complex and diverse relationship between spirituality/religion and suicidality. These findings may inform further research on treatment strategies that assess the function of spirituality/religion, and incorporate protective aspects of spirituality/religion into mental health treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 20 2017

Keywords

  • qualitative
  • religion
  • spirituality
  • suicidality
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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