Characteristics of methods of suicide attempts in Korea: Korea National Suicide Survey (KNSS)

Bora Kim, Joon Ho Ahn, Boseok Cha, Young Chul Chung, Tae Hyon Ha, Seong Hong Jeong, Hee Yeon Jung, Gawon Ju, Eun Young Kim, Jae Min Kim, Moon Doo Kim, Min Hyuk Kim, Soo In Kim, Kyoung Uk Lee, Sang Hyuk Lee, Seung Jae Lee, Yu Jin Lee, Eunsoo Moon, Yong Min Ahn

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29 Scopus citations


Background Because the method used for a suicide attempt is an important determinant of outcome, these methods should be explored. The present study was a nationwide investigation of suicide attempts and the characteristics of suicidal behavior. Aims To compare the suicide methods used in attempted suicides with those used in completed suicides and to examine the factors associated with each phenomenon. Methods The present study reviewed the medical charts of subjects who had attempted suicide and subsequently visited the emergency rooms of 17 medical centers from May 1, 2013 to November 7, 2013. All subjects completed a full psychiatric interview conducted by trained psychiatric residents. Suicide-attempt methods were divided into the following six categories: drug poisoning, pesticide poisoning, gassing, cutting, hanging, and others. The associations among demographic variables, related psychiatric variables, and suicide-attempt methods were analyzed using a multinomial regression analysis. Results Of the 1359 suicide attempts or instrumental suicide-related behaviors with/without injuries and the 14,160 completed suicides, drug poisoning and cutting were the most common suicidal behaviors with/without injuries, but they were the least frequent method of completed suicides. In contrast, hanging and jumping from a height were less common among failed suicide attempts but resulted in a higher percentage of fatalities. Being male, age, and area of residence were associated with pesticide poisoning, whereas previous suicide attempts were associated with cutting, pesticide poisoning, and gassing. Conclusion A previous suicide attempt is a risk factor for suicide; thus, assessing the characteristics of suicide attempts or instrumental suicide-related behaviors with/without injuries is necessary to prevent these attempts. The present findings showed that the methods of suicide used by individuals who only attempted suicide differed from those used by individuals who completed. Of the suicide methods, pesticide poisoning was related to age, residential area (urban), and a history of previous suicide attempts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-225
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

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© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Methods of suicide attempts
  • Suicide
  • Suicide attempts
  • Suicide methods


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