Korean J Leg Med.  2014 Nov;38(4):155-166. 10.7580/kjlm.2014.38.4.155.

A Qualitative Study of Psychological State of Suicide Victims through Suicide Notes

  • 1Psychological Forensics Division, National Forensic Service, Wonju, Korea. greey@sogang.ac.kr
  • 2Medical Examiner's Office, National Forensic Service, Wonju, Korea.
  • 3Forensic Medicine Division, Gwangju Institute, National Forensic Service, Jangseong, Korea.
  • 4Institute of Forensic Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. yoosh@snu.ac.kr


Suicide notes are essential for investigating the psychological state of suicide victims and establishing suicide prevention programs. Since only a few studies have attempted to identify the causes of suicidal behavior through suicide notes, it would be worth examining suicide notes. Quantitative research on suicide has offered a limited understanding of suicide. Results showed that the suicide victims had used the suicide note as a tool for their last communication. Further, in addition to neutral contents such as directions for funeral, the note often contained information about precipitating events that caused the suicidal ideation. Writing a suicide note seemed to help the victims consider concrete plans for suicide. This study proved that qualitative research on suicide notes would be helpful for researchers to understand suicide victims in depth, which cannot be achieved by quantitative methods alone. Based on these results, several suggestions for suicide prevention programs were discussed.


Suicide; Victims; Psychological; Qualitative research; Prevention
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