Suicidal Ideation Among Korean Elderly: Risk Factors and Population Attributable Fractions

Jong Il Park, Jong Chul Yang, Changsu Han, Tae Won Park, Sang Keun Chung

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the risk factors of suicidal ideation and their population attributable fraction (PAF) in a representative sample of the elderly population in Korea. Method: We examined the data set from the Survey of Living Conditions and Welfare Needs of Korean Older Persons, which was conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) in 2011. In that survey, 10,674 participants were randomly selected from those older than age 65. Simultaneous multivariate logistic regression was used to investigate the risk factors of suicidal ideation in terms of their sociodemographic and health-related variables. Subsequently, the PAF was calculated with adjustment for other risk factors. Results: The weighted prevalences of depression and suicidal ideation were 30.3% and 11.2%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, factors significantly associated with decreased risk of suicidal ideation included old-old age (odds ratio [OR] = 0.66 for 75 to 79 years, OR = 0.52 for 80 to 84 years, OR = 0.32 for older than 85 years), economic status (OR = 0.59 for 5th quintile; more than US$25,700 per year), whereas those associated with increased risk included poor social support (OR = 1.28), currently smoking (OR = 1.42), sleep problems (OR = 1.74), chronic illness (OR = 1.40), poor subjective health (OR = 1.56), functional impairment (OR = 1.45), and depression (OR = 4.36). Depression was associated with a fully adjusted PAF of 45.7%, followed by chronic illness (19.4%), poor subjective health status (18.9%), sleep problems (14.1%), functional impairment (4.9%), poor social support (4.2%), and currently smoking (3.6%). Conclusions: Preventive strategies focused particularly on depression might reduce the impact of suicidal ideation in the elderly population. Also, specific mental health centers focused on the specific needs of the elderly population should be established to manage suicidal risk.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)262-281
    Number of pages20
    JournalPsychiatry (New York)
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 2

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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