Korean J Psychosom Med.  2015 Dec;23(2):100-106. 10.0000/kjpm.2015.23.2.100.

The Clinical Characteristics of Elderly Suicide Attempters Visiting Emergency Room

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje Unversity College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea. intuit@paik.ac.kr


The purpose of this study was to find out the clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of elderly suicide attempters visiting emergency room, compared to non-elderly adult suicide attempters.
We enrolled suicidal attempters who were treated in the emergency room of the Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital between June 2013 and July 2015. We conducted a retrospective chart review of 336 suicidal attempters, and compared sociodemographic and clinical characteristics between elderly and non-elderly adult suicide attempters.
During the study period, 336 patients visited the emergency room of the medical center after suicide attempts. Among these, there were 71 elderly(21.2%) and 265 non-elderly adult(79.8%) suicide attempters. The suicidal methods among elderly were poisoning(73.3%), hanging(19.7%), cutting(5.6%), and jumping(1.4%). Those in non-elderly were poisoning(73.2%), cutting(17.0%), hanging(6.8%), and jumping(3.0%). The elderly suicide attempters had the tendency to choose more dangerous methods and showed higher lethality compared to adult suicide attempters(20.6% vs. 1.9%, χ2=34.565, p<0.05). On the other hand, premorbid psychiatric disorders had been more commonly diagnosed in non-elderly adults than elderly suicide attempters(49.8% vs. 26.8%, χ2=12.024, p<0.05).
The results provide evidence of different sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of elderly suicide attempters compared to non-elderly ones visiting the emergency room. Through this study, it can be seen that the suicide attempt in the elderly tends to be severer than in the non-elderly, but only a small portion of them seek for help from psychiatric intervention. Further study is required to provide effective suicide prevention programs for elderly population.


Suicide attempt; Elderly; Emergency room
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