Spiritual well-being, intrinsic religiosity, and suicidal behavior in predominantly Catholic Croatian war veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder: a case control study

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2008 Jan;196(1):79-83. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31815faa5f.


We investigated relationships between spiritual well-being (SWB), intrinsic religiosity (IR), and suicidal behavior in 45 Croatian war veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder and 32 healthy volunteers. Compared with the volunteers, the veterans had significantly lower SWB scores (p = 0.000) and existential well-being (EWB) scores (p = 0.000). Scores on the religious well-being (RWB) subscale (p = 0.108) and the IR scale did not differ significantly between the groups (p = 0.803). Veterans' suicidality inversely correlated with SWB (p = 0.000), EWB (p = 0.000), RWB (p = 0.026), and IR (p = 0.041), with the association being stronger for the EWB subscale than for the RWB subscale. Veterans who had attempted suicide at least once in their lifetime had significantly higher Suicidal Assessment Scale scores and lower EWB scores than veterans who never attempted suicide. Low EWB scores may imply an increased risk of suicidality. Some religious activities were more frequent among the veterans than among the healthy volunteers, possibly reflecting the veterans' increased help-seeking behavior due to poor EWB.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Catholicism*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis
  • Combat Disorders / epidemiology
  • Combat Disorders / psychology*
  • Croatia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture
  • Existentialism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Spirituality*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data
  • Warfare*