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Suicide beliefs and behaviour among young Muslims and Hindus in the UK

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It has been suggested that Hindu tradition is relatively tolerant of suicide, while Islamic tradition has consistently regarded suicide as a very grave sin. This study sought to examine the possible impact of religious-cultural tradition by examining suicide-related beliefs and reported behaviour in non-clinical samples of young Hindus (n = 40) and Muslims (n = 60) living in the UK. Participants completed a short demographic questionnaire, the Reasons for Living Inventory, and measures of suicide thoughts, plans and behaviour. The Hindus endorsed moral, total and (marginally) survival-and-coping reasons for living less strongly than did the Muslims. Women endorsed family-related, fear of suicide and (marginally) total reasons for living less strongly than did men. There were no noteworthy between-group differences with respect to suicide thoughts, plans or behaviour. Causal inferences are not possible, but the results are consistent with the suggestions that scriptural differences between Hinduism and Islam in attitudes to suicide may be responsible for some of the differences detected in this study.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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