Trends in suicide methods and rates among older adults in South Korea: A comparison with Japan

Subin Park, Hochang Benjamin Lee, Su Yeon Lee, Go Eun Lee, Myung Hee Ahn, Ki Kyoung Yi, Jin Pyo Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective Lethality of the chosen method during a suicide attempt is a strong risk factor for completion of suicide. We examined whether annual changes in the pattern of suicide methods is related to annual changes in suicide rates among older adults in South Korea and Japan. Methods We analyzed annual the World Health Organization data on rates and methods of suicide from 2000 to 2011 in South Korea and Japan. Results For Korean older adults, there was a significant positive correlation between suicide rate and the rate of hanging or the rate of jumping, and a significant negative correlation between suicide rate and the rate of poisoning. Among older adults in Japan, annual changes in the suicide rate and the pattern of suicide methods were less conspicuous, and no correlation was found between them. Conclusion The results of the present study suggest that the increasing use of lethal suicide methods has contributed to the rise in suicide rates among older adults in South Korea. Targeted efforts to reduce the social acceptability and accessibility of lethal suicide methods might lead to lower suicide rate among older adults in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-189
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Investigation
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Crossnational studies
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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