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Religions 2018, 9(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030071

Why Are Suicides So Widespread in Catholic Lithuania?

Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Vilnius, Universiteto 9/1, Vilnius 01513, Lithuania
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention, Religion and Spirituality)
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Abstract

Religion as a protective factor against suicide was introduced in Durkheim’s theory of suicide and analysed from various perspectives in multiple studies. The Lithuanian case is intriguing because before WWII, along with Catholic Poland, it showed much lower suicide rates than its Protestant neighbours Latvia and Estonia. However, today Lithuania is among the leading countries in terms of the prevalence of suicide. Interestingly, not much has changed in Lithuania in terms of religious denomination—about 80% of population call themselves Catholic. The aim of this article was to explore which factors might have affected religions’ protective function against suicide during radical historical processes. The method of study consists of an analysis of historical sources, and of recent studies in suicidology and sociology of religion about suicide and religion in Lithuania. The results of this analysis show that two factors seem to be most important—heroicizing resistance suicides and experiencing long-term politics of atheisation. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; suicide rates; Lithuania religion; suicide rates; Lithuania
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Gailienė, D. Why Are Suicides So Widespread in Catholic Lithuania? Religions 2018, 9, 71.

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