Psychiatry Investig.  2008 Mar;5(1):28-35.

Gender Differences in Suicidal Behavior in Korea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine, Ansan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Ansan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


OBJECTIVE: To examine gender differences in the characteristics of suicidal behavior in South Korea.
Between August 2003 and December 2006, 344 suicide attempters (116 men, 228 women) participated in this study. The attempters were interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I), and the lethality of the attempt was measured using the Lethality Suicide Attempt Rating Scale-II (LSARS-II) and Risk-Rescue Rating Scale (RRRS).
Significantly more women than men were admitted to emergency rooms due to attempted suicide during the study period. The male attempters were older and had a higher rate of employment than the females. Depression was the most common psychiatric disorder in both genders. The lesion/toxicity scores of the RRRS indicated that the male suicide attempters used higher doses or more toxic agents than the female attempters. The most common methods of suicide were ingestion and cutting in both sexes. Although there were significant gender differences in the RRRS risk score and RRRS total scores, there was no gender difference in the LSARS-II scores, which suggests that patients of both sexes share a similar ambivalence regarding suicide completion or death.
Our study should be understood within the context of the specific cultural background
of South Korea. We found that males and females use similar methods when attempting suicide and share a similar ambivalence regarding the outcome of the attempt; however, there was a difference in severity of the attempt between the two groups. Our findings may aid in the identification of more effective methods of intervention to prevent suicide.


Suicide; Gender; Depression; Risk factor; Korea
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