Strong evidence in new study links teen suicide and the Mormon population.
A recent study by Benjamin Knoll, a political science professor, has indicated an increased link between teen suicide and the Mormon population. In a post that appeared on the Rational Faiths blog, there is an increased link between Mormonism and teen suicide.
A similar scenario has been witnessed in the LGBT community after the introduction of the new LDS Church’s policy on matters of marriage rights such as gay Mormons and same-gender marriages. The study indicates that there has been a continuous increase in the number of suicides and attempts to commit suicide among many teens and young adults in the LGBT Mormon Community.
However, the Benjamin Knoll post entitled Youth Suicide Rates and Mormon Religious Context: An Additional Empirical Analysis, is not scientifically proven; it is only based on collected data. In his suicide research, Knoll collected the suicide statistics in all states in the U.S. from 2009-2014. He then compared the statistics against the Pew Research Center to come up with the percentage of Mormons in every state.
In his analysis, he found out that teens whose age ranges from 15-19 living in states with high Mormon populations are at greater risk of committing suicide. “These are objectively small numbers, but it means that (again, controlling for other factors) youth suicides are twice as high in states with the highest levels of Mormon residents compared to states with the lowest levels of Mormon residents,” Knoll said.
Cities with a large Mormon population have recorded a significant increase in youths and young adults’ suicide in recent years compared to the year 2009. The most affected city is Utah with the suicide death rates increasing to double.
— Kimberly Winston (@kjwinston11) March 14, 2016
On the other hand, the data collected by Knoll does not indicate a close connection with teen’s suicide with the LGBT Mormon Crisis. This is because; the data collected from the Center for Disease Control does not take in sexual orientation as a factor in suicide deaths.
Another shortcoming of this report is the fact that it cannot tell the religion of teens that are committing suicide. There is no proof that cities with high Mormon population are recording high teen suicide or many teens commit suicides based on their religious inclination. Also, the report does not indicate any connections of teens increased suicide with any of the recent LDS Church policy change that was implemented in November 2015.
In his closing remarks, Knoll said that; “my research is not intended to condemn. Rather, it is presented to contribute to the conversation on this important topic that literally has life-and-death implications. It is clear that there is a problem. The more information we have available to us the sooner we can craft an effective solution.”
- Rational Faiths
- World Religion News
- Religion News Service
- Human Rights Campaign
- The LGBTQ Mormon Crisis