Religious Attendance and Spirituality as Protective Factors for Abused and Suicidal African American Women

Anita Mathew, RTI International
Nadine Kaslow, Emory University/Grady Memorial Hospital

Women who have experienced interpersonal violence are at risk for suicidal behavior and previous research suggests that African-American women are at an increased risk. This study examined how religious attendance and spiritual well-being affect the link between interpersonal violence and suicide. It was hypothesized that, among African-American women who have been in an abusive relationship, religious attendance would protect against a suicide attempt when social support is controlled. Further, it was hypothesized that, among abused African-American women, spiritual well-being would mediate the relationship between religious attendance and suicide attempt. The study examuined 126 African-American women; 62 women who had attempted suicide, and 64 women who had not attempted suicide. All the women had been in a violent relationship. The results indicated religious attendance does not protect abused African-American women from attempting suicide. Therefore, the second hypothesis could not be tested. However, spiritual well-being was a significant protective factor when religious attendance was controlled. Future research should focus on the role that spiritual well-being plays as a protective factor.

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Updated 05/20/2006