The Moderating Effect of Religion on the Relationship Between Depression and Suicidal Ideation in the Elderly

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This article aimed to compare the level of suicidal ideation in the religiously affiliated and nonaffiliated groups and identify the moderating effect of religion variables on the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation. The sample in this study was 1180 residents who were older than 60 years and who resided in Gangwon Province, South Korea. We studied the cross-sectional relationships among religions and studied variables including organizational religious activity (ORA), non-ORA (NORA), intrinsic religiosity (IR), depression, well-being, and suicidal ideation. After controlling for sociodemographic variables, the depression, well-being, and suicidal ideation level in the religiously affiliated group were not significantly different from that of the religiously nonaffiliated group and the variables also were not significantly different between Christians and Buddhists. The effect of depression on suicidal ideation was significantly moderated by ORA and IR, and the effect showed different patterns by religion; ORA was a moderator only among the Buddhist group, and IR only moderated the relationships among the Christians.

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