Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 50, Issue 9, pp 1441–1450 | Cite as

Religiousness and suicide in a nationally representative sample of Trinidad and Tobago adolescents and young adults

  • Loren Toussaint
  • Colwick M. Wilson
  • Leon C. Wilson
  • David R. Williams
Original Paper



The present study examines religiousness and its connection to suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts among Trinidad and Tobago adolescents and young adults.


Data are from Trend Research Empowering National Development on adolescents and young adults in Trinidad and Tobago (N = 4448). Religious affiliation, self-perceived religiousness, attendance at religious services, prayer frequency, socio-demographic variables, and suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts were assessed.


Compared to nonreligious, Catholics (OR 0.63, p < 0.05) and Seventh-day Adventists (OR 0.47, p < 0.01) were less likely to think about suicide, and hindus (OR 5.81, p < 0.05) and other affiliates (OR 7.28, p < 0.01) were more likely to be treated for suicide. Higher self-rated religiosity was related to lower likelihood of thinking about suicide (OR 0.86, p < 0.01) and lower likelihood of planning suicide (OR 0.78, p < 0.001). Attendance at religious services was related to lower likelihood of thinking about suicide (OR 0.94, p < 05) and fewer suicide attempts (β = −0.11, p < 0.01). More frequent prayer was related to lower likelihood of thinking about suicide (OR 0.92, p < 0.01) and lower likelihood of planning suicide (OR 0.90, p < 0.001).


Religiousness may offer benefits for adolescents and young adults in Trinidad and Tobago by reducing the likelihood that they engage in suicide thoughts and behaviors. Results may hold implications for counselors, clergy, teachers, and others working with adolescents and young adults in Trinidad and Tobago.


Religiousness Suicide Adolescents and young adults Trinidad and Tobago 


Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

This study was approved by the university ethics committee and has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loren Toussaint
    • 1
  • Colwick M. Wilson
    • 2
  • Leon C. Wilson
    • 3
  • David R. Williams
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLuther CollegeDecorahUSA
  2. 2.Academic Affairs, School of Behavioral Health, Social Work and Social EcologyLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA
  3. 3.Alabama State UniversityMontgomeryUSA
  4. 4.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of African and African American StudiesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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