The majority of research attention has been devoted to the link between religiosity and suicide risk, and a considerable amount of studies has been carried out on how stigma impacts individuals with mental health problems of different kinds. However, the interplay between religiosity, suicide literacy and suicide stigma has seldom been empirically researched, especially quantitatively. We sought through this study to redress the imbalance of research attention by examining the relationship between religiosity and suicide stigma; and the indirect and moderating effects of suicide literacy on this relationship.
A cross-sectional web-based survey was conducted among Arab-Muslim adults originating from four Arab countries (Egypt: N = 1029, Kuwait: N = 2182, Lebanon N = 781, Tunisia N = 2343; Total sample: N = 6335). The outcome measures included the Arabic Religiosity Scale which taps into variation in the degree of religiosity, the Stigma of Suicide Scale-short form to the solicit degree of stigma related to suicide, and the Literacy of Suicide Scale explores knowledge and understanding of suicide.
Our Mediation analyses findings showed that literacy of suicide partially mediated the association between religiosity and stigmatizing attitude toward suicide. Higher religiosity was significantly associated with less literacy of suicide; higher literacy of suicide was significantly associated with less stigma of suicide. Finally, higher religiosity was directly and significantly associated with more stigmatization attitude toward suicide.
We contribute the literature by showing, for the first time, that suicide literacy plays a mediating role in the association between religiosity and suicide stigma in a sample of Arab-Muslim community adults. This preliminarily suggests that the effects of religiosity on suicide stigma can be modifiable through improving suicide literacy. This implies that interventions targeting highly religious individuals should pay dual attention to increasing suicide literacy and lowering suicide stigma.