Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives

To Be or Not to Be

Hae-Wol Cho, and Chaeshin Chu

Additional article information

Abstract

BODY

Suicidal ideation is a key concept to prevent suicide [1]. South Korea marks the highest record for suicidal attempts within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries [2]. Suicide, along with cancer and cardiovascular diseases is one of the leading causes of death in Korea. It is also the first leading cause of death for teens and people in their 20s, second for adults in their 40s and 50s and 4th for the death of the elderly [3]. Each year, approximately 5,000 elderly citizens commit suicide in Korea and about 4% of suicidal attempts cause fatality [4]. Furthermore, there is a much higher rate in suicidal attempt, and even higher rate in suicidal ideation [5]. Suicidal impulse leads to ideation. This can trigger an attempt and cause fatal damage. Therefore, intervening when one conceptualizes suicide or feels an impulse is critical to prevent suicide [6].

Traumatic experiences during one’s childhood and youth can lead to emotional instability, mental maladjustment correlating to committing suicidal attempts. In adolescence, problems such as poor academic performance, drinking, stress due to school or family problems, lack of emotional support, runaway urge and depression tend to be a problem [7]. In the 20s, it can take the form of lack of impulse control, uncertainty of future, academics, financial and relationship problems [8,9]. For elderly citizens, it can be financial instability, illness, chronic pain, health status, and relationship issues [10,11]. Likewise, young people aged under 40 years and middle aged people aged over 40 years have different developmental tasks. Accordingly the stressors in their lives and the factors influencing suicidal ideation will be different. Yong adulthood is a period when one becomes a legal adult and starts to live independently, involve in active social life. Also it is a time to adapt to social demands and physiological changes. Mid to late adulthood requires continued career development, caring for own family and parents and getting ready for retirement. With aging, elders need to prepare for changes in physicality and adjust accordingly [12].

Some studies have reported that education level, job, divorce [13], family conflict, financial problem, social relationship, unemployment [14], depression, despair, stress level, and family cohesion [15], stress, gender, education, and marital status [16] were associated with suicide in adults life. Considering the recent trend of the increment in adult suicide [3], timely investigation of suicidal thoughts experienced by adults is essential. In reality, suicide is socially, culturally and ethically prejudiced, so access is very limited. Moreover, it is difficult to investigate because they are reluctant to expose their own or family suicide experience. Most of the previous studies are cross sectional and make it difficult to understand the causal relationship between each factor at the elapsed time [17]. Suicide may be impulsive, but in many cases it may be the result of accumulation of various psychosocial state. From that point of view, it needs to investigate the accumulated effects of physical, perceived psychological state of an individual on the suicidal ideation over years.

In the current issue of Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives, a study aimed to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation among young and middle-aged adults, and to explore the risk factors that affect the suicidal ideation in Korea, using secondary data analysis [18]. This study performed secondary data analysis using data collected nationwide from the same person annually. From two waves (2012–2013) of the 7th Korea Health Panel (KHP) survey, a total sample of 5,214 was drawn. The KHP data were collected by well-trained interviewer by face-to-face method during home visiting and self-report method as well.

Authors found that prevalence of suicidal ideation in young and middle aged adults were 4.4% and 5.6% respectively. For young adults, the suicidal ideation risk was higher among those who have low income or heavy drink habit than the counter parts. In middle aged adults, low income, poor perceived health status, negative perception of peer compared health status, and negative social perspective found to be the major risk factors.

Authors concluded that the risk of suicide ideation in adulthood in Korea is considerable. The opportunity for increment of income, avoidance of heavy drink, construction of positive subjective health status and social perspectives might be considered in suicide prevention intervention for Korean young and middle aged adults.

Article information

Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives.Jun 30, 2017; 8(3): 157-158.
Published online 2017-06-30. doi:  10.24171/j.phrp.2017.8.3.01
aEditor-in-Chief, Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Korea
bProfessor Emeritus, College of Medicine, Eulji University, Daejeon, Korea
cManaging Editor, Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Korea
Hae-Wol Cho, E-mail: hwcho@eulji.ac.kr. Chaeshin Chu, E-mail: cchu@cdc.go.kr
Received January 1, 1970; Accepted January 1, 1970.
Articles from Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives are provided here courtesy of Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives

References

  • (1989). Correlates of suicidal ideation and attempts in a community sample of junior high and high school students. J Clin Child Psychol. 18, 158-66.
  • (2013). Health at a glance 2013. OECD indicators [Internet], , ed. (Paris:OECD Publishing), pp. .
  • (2014). A study on relationship between interpersonal relationships and suicide ideation among alcoholics: focusing on the mediating effects of depression. Health Soc Welf Rev. 34, 379-407.
  • (2013). Policy issues and directions for a rapid increase in suicides in Korea. Health Welf Policy Forum. 200, 7-18.
  • (2005). Factors related to suicide ideation by age group. Health Welf Policy Forum. 107, 81-6.
  • (2003). Predicting factors on youth suicide impulse. Korean J Youth Stud. 10, 107-26.
  • (2008). The verification of a structural relationship model of suicidal ideation to stress, coping styles, perfectionism, depression, and impulsivity. Korean J Couns Psychother. 20, 1149-71.
  • (2010). College freshmen’s expectations about college life and their mental health status. J Hum Underst Couns. 31, 105-27.
  • (2009). A study of the determinants of suicidal ideation among the elderly in Korea. Health Soc Welf Rev. 29, 192-212.
  • (2009). A study on the relating factors affecting the suicide instinct of the elderly aged 65 or older. Health Soc Sci. 26, 115-36.
  • (1952). Social and psychological needs of the aging. Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci. 279, 11-7.
  • (2005). Socio-demographic characteristics of suicides in South Korea. Health Soc Sci. 18, 191-210.
  • (2006). A study on the characteristics of adult suicide and suicidal type. Korean Psychol J Cult Soc Issues. 12, 15-33.
  • (2011). Study on variables related to adults’ suicidal ideation. J Fam Relations. 16, 45-61.
  • (2013). Prevalence of suicidal ideation and related risk factors among Korean adults. J Korean Acad Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 22, 88-96.
  • (2012). Psychological autopsy studies as diagnostic tools: are they methodologically flawed?. Death Stud. 36, 605-26.
  • (2017). Age differentiated risk factors of suicidal ideation among young and middle-aged Korean adults. Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 8, 201-10.