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Title: Religiosity, coping and suicidality among the religious Zionist community of Israel
Author: Band, M. D.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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The relationship between religion and mental health has been the subject of extensive research particularly in recent years. Concurrently, the issues of coping and suicidality have also been widely studied. Significantly however, how religious people cope with harsh life situations and how their religiosity impacts on their coping skills is an area which seems to have been overlooked. The present study analyses how members of one cultural group, the Religious Zionist community in Israel, cope with harsh life situations. Two introductory chapters reporting on previous research relating to religion, mental health and suicide are followed by a historical and psycho-sociological review of the development of the Religious Zionist community over the last 100 years. A qualitative study (n=18) informed the quantitative research (n=124) such that questionnaires were developed through insights gained in the interviews. A synthesis of the qualitative and quantitative studies led to conclusions which have helped to refine the understanding of the relationship between religiosity, coping, and suicidality. Although the study confirms the conclusions of previous research - in general religion creates a buffer to suicidal activity - the results showed a relatively low impact of religiosity on coping: people who regard themselves as religious find it difficult to access their religiosity during harsh life situations. Furthermore, religiosity appears to have a greater impact on suicide acceptance than on suicide ideation. The study highlights the critical role of religious coping as a mediating factor between religiosity and suicide. The thesis suggests certain themes which help to explain the findings, for example the specific complexity of personal and collective identities which characterise the Religious Zionist community, or - more significantly - the possibilty that religious coping is not actually absent but is only available in a second, later stage of coping. As an example of a harsh life event which affected the whole community, the thesis presents a provisional analysis of the Disengagement plan of 2005, and finally the study analyses the significance of the researcher's socio-religious background and its impact on the research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available