As of 2018, the highest suicide rates in Korea occur in the elderly, defined as aged 65 or older. There are several factors that influence the suicide rate in the elderly population, but one is economic poverty. The elderly poverty rate is defined as the percentage of elderly people with median or lower incomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation between the basic pension paid to the elderly in Korea and suicide attempts. This study retrospectively reviewed data registered in the Emergency Department-Based Injury In-Depth Surveillance Database in South Korea from 2011 to 2017. In this study, people aged 60 to 64 years formed the control group, and those aged 65 to 69 years formed the treatment group. Difference-in-Differences (DID) was used for analysis. This study confirmed that the rate of suicide attempts among the elderly decreased by about 0.07% when they received the basic pension. The ratio of the number of suicidal patients (self-reported) to the total number of patients aged 60 to 69 was 0.62%; this ratio was reduced by about 10% among 60-to 69-year-olds receiving the basic pension. The same ratio pattern was found by a sensitivity analysis between groups with different age differences. This is the first study to investigate the correlation between the basic pension and suicide ideation in the elderly population of Korea. This study provides valuable insights, which will contribute to finding ways to prevent elder suicides in Korea through social approaches.
- Emergency department
- Geriatric psychiatry