J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2015 Nov;54(4):459-467. 10.4306/jknpa.2015.54.4.459.

Physical, Psychological, and Social Risk Factors Affecting Suicidal Ideation among the Elderly

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea. yijs@hallym.or.kr
  • 2Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Kangwon National University Hospital, Chuncheon, Korea.


The aim of this study is to examine the physical, psychological, and social factors influencing suicidal ideation among elderly Koreans.
Community Health Survey data obtained in 2013 were used for this study with a sample of 4367 elderly who reside in Gangwon province. The data were analyzed using the chi-square test and the logistic regression test to examine the relationship between suicidal ideation and other variables.
Depression was the single most influential variable, both directly and indirectly increasing suicidal ideation. In particular, the increase of suicidal ideation among those with severe disease was affected by depression. Perceived poor social support and perceived poor health status were the two highest risk factors after depression, implying that subjective assessment of the elderly affects suicidal ideation significantly. Poor economic status and current smoking showed significantly higher risk for women only, although poor health, poor social support, and poor social activity commonly attributed to the risk of suicidal ideation in both genders.
This study suggests that suicidal ideation among the elderly should be approached in a multi-perspective way considering depression, social support, and physical health. It is notable that not only lack of resources but also perceived sense of poor social and physical well-being significantly affect suicidal ideation.


Elderly; Suicidal ideation; Risk factor
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