Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 6, pp 2301–2312 | Cite as

Moral Objections and Fear of Hell: An Important Barrier to Suicidality

  • Bart van den BrinkEmail author
  • Hanneke Schaap
  • Arjan W. Braam
Original Paper


This review explores the literature to test the hypothesis that ‘moral objections to suicide (MOS), especially the conviction of going to hell after committing suicide, exert a restraining effect on suicide and suicidality.’ Medline and PsycInfo were searched using all relevant search terms; all relevant articles were selected, rated and reviewed. Fifteen cross-sectional studies were available on this topic, and raise sufficient evidence to confirm a restraining effect of MOS, and sparse data on fear of hell. MOS seem to counteract especially the development of suicidal intent and attempts, and possibly the lethality of suicidal attempts. A differential pattern of influence of MOS on the suicidal continuum is suggested.


Moral objections Suicidality Fear of hell Suicide attempts Religion 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatric Acute Care UnitEleos, Christian Institution for Mental Health CareAmersfoortThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Kennisinstituut christelijke ggz, Center for Christian Mental Health CareAmersfoortThe Netherlands
  3. 3.University of Humanistic StudiesUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Emergency PsychiatryAltrecht Mental Health CareUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Residency TrainingAltrecht Mental Health CareUtrechtThe Netherlands

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