J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2014 Oct;18(2):45-50. 10.0000/jkgp.2014.18.2.45.

Association of Pain with Suicidality in Depressed Elderly

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. mjcho@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Yong-In Bethel Hospital, Yongin, Korea.


We aimed to investigate the factors associated with suicidality among the elderly, focusing pain as the potential correlate.
This study was a community-based, cross-sectional study that included 413 elderly subjects aged 60 years and over with depression. Suicidality and pain were evaluated using Suicidal Ideation Scale and Geriatric Pain Measure, respectively. Participants were classified into two groups : 1) those with mild-to-moderate pain ; 2) those with severe pain. The risk of suicidality was determined using logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, education, literacy status, marital status, living arrangement, the type of medical insurance, employment status, and the number of chronic medical illnesses.
Among all subjects with depression, fifty-one (12.3%) presented clinically significant levels of suicidality. Those with severe pain were more likely to have suicidal idea (adjusted odds ratio : 20.49 ; 95% confidence interval : 8.15-51.51 ; p value : < 0.001) than those with mild-to-moderate pain, after adjusting for other variables. Other sociodemographic and clinical variables were not associated with the risk of suicide after adjustment.
The severity of pain was strongly and independently associated with suicidality in the elderly individuals. This study suggests that the pain management should be emphasized to lower the rate of suicide in those experiencing depression in the late-adulthood.


Suicidal ideation; Pain; Elderly; Chronic disease; Depression
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